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By Saish Bhise


The renowned French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously stated that "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." Since the onset of the pandemic, the quote's significance has soared exponentially. It's barely known that Blaise Pascal wrote it in the mid 17th century when the city of London was hit by an epidemic of plague. People, their interests, and their problems change with time. Since the onset of the global Coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in porn consumption across the globe.

India is at the focal point, as it has seen a 95 per cent spike in traffic to adult sites during the nationwide three-week lockdown period. Data compiled from various adult sites show a 20 per cent spike in porn consumption, even before the official restrictions kicked in late March. Various telecom operators have banned a slew of adult sites, still, users can circumvent the ban by using VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Porn addiction can be defined as an uncontrolled urge to watch porn and the concurrent use of pornographic material for pleasure-seeking activities or dealing with distress despite negative consequences to one's physical, mental and social well being. A month of internet porn consumption is enough to get one addicted. The rise in porn consumption will have long-term detrimental consequences on the well-being of society.

Moreover, India is one of the youngest countries in the world, is facing a severe unemployment crisis. According to Linkedin, a job networking platform, 70 per cent of Gen Z's job applications are being rejected. The Covid-19 pandemic can be expressed in other words as a global epidemic of boredom. Forced to stay indoors due to the restrictions, people of all age groups have been spending significantly more hours online and in front of screens, leading to a rise in cyber-space-related psychological issues.

India's premier mental health institutions, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, have started a separate clinic namely The Services for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) which specialises in dealing with the hazards of excessive use of technology. According to a clinical psychologist at NIMHANS, the addiction levels have shot up by 30 per cent after the onset of the pandemic. The cases largely seen at the SHUT clinic are related to excessive gaming, parental distress, pornography addiction, couple distress, managing body pain due to excessive use of gadgets and distracting children from technology.

The ongoing second wave of coronavirus has already ravaged the country. With scientists predicting that the third wave will be vicious and is on the horizon. Various states have imposed curbs on travel and tourism. This time the sanity of Indians is at stake. It is high time that analysts, policymakers consider porn as a public health issue.


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