A West Cork Judge has warned of the dangers and journeys into “the dark side of human behaviour”, through the access of child pornography content on smartphones. Judge James McNulty made his comments as he convicted a Martin Hayes, aged 37, from Clonakilty, Co Cork for possession of child pornographic images discovered by authorities on his iPhone. Judge McNulty also issued a stern warning to those tempted to access such content, noting that the societal implications of a conviction were far worse than a prison sentence.
His comments reflected the changing moral values in society that is accompanying internet access. “We live in changing times where moral codes are sometimes forgotten. The internet and smartphones grant easy access to pornography but there are boundaries and lines that must not be crossed.”
The number of people accessing and distributing child abuse and child exploitation material is increasing year on year, as is the amount of content available online. WhatsApp and Bing were both subject criticism lately, for their failure to address child exploitation and abuse content on their platforms.
“Dont go there”
“Child pornography involves crossing a boundary into the dark side of human behaviour and journeying into the world of sexual deviancy. So for teens on WhatsApp, or men on bar stools, they should be able to tell one another that child pornography is dangerous territory. Don’t go there.”
“For those who are immature, or confused, or easily led, or just curious, and for the perverts, there are four things you need to know.
One – To store or share child pornography is a serious offence
Two – Chances are you will be detected and prosecuted
Three – If convicted there is a real risk that you will spend time in prison
Four – There are other serious social consequences for you, and your family, in your community, in your accommodation, even in your employment and your future travel plans and job prospects.”
There is an unseen danger lurking behind the sharing of child exploitation or abuse material. It normalises an abnormal behaviour. People develop a tolerance for what is otherwise unacceptable. Images arriving on one device, then passed on to WhatsApp Groups, puts everyone at risk of committing a criminal offense. Even those who did not ask seek the content out themselves.
There is no Delete
We have been advising both students and parents about the permanence of data on devices for some time. When content is arrives on your device, deleting the content doesn’t necessarily mean that it is no longer accessible. Deleted data can now even accessed with some freely available Apps. Remember devices get lost, given away and handed in for an upgrade. Illegal content can put the original or new owner in a very difficult situation, if discovered on a device.
For some this will not be a problem, until it becomes a problem. Sharing the content, in messaging groups can reduce an individual’s perception of the severity of their action. Sure that’s only the lads messing, there’s loads of that kind of stuff going round. None of these excuses hold any weight in the eyes of the law. The person in the image is a victim. What people are viewing and sharing, is actually evidence of a crime. Regardless of whether it is just an accusation or a conviction for child sexual related offences, this carries a very powerful stigma in society. Not one that people easily forget
If you ever receive child abuse or exploitation content report it to the authorities. It is incredibly important for people report this type of content. You report might be the first. The report could possibly enables authorities to save a child from the abusive circumstances they are in. The vital piece of evidence needed to apprehend a real world or online sexual predator.