People can get in trouble before they even realize it. When it is so easy to access sexually explicit materials on the Internet, users can find themselves acting on curiosities they didn’t have before. Some people find themselves losing control over their use of pornography, for example by spending more and more time viewing it and, for some, looking for new and different types of pornography, including images of children. Some people accidentally find sexual images of children and are curious or aroused by them. They may justify their behavior by saying they weren’t looking for the pictures, they just “stumbled across” them, etc. If you find what you believe to be sexual images of children on the Internet, report this immediately to authorities by contacting the Cybertipline. If someone you know is concerned about their Internet activity, seek the help of professionals who specialize in this area.
Some frequent users of adult pornography may get bored with these images and begin to look for pictures of different types of sexual encounters. Not everyone who views child pornography is sexually attracted to children. They might find the images arousing because they are new or different from sexual situations they have seen before. The might get a thrill from the risk-taking involved in looking at something that is illegal.
Viewing child pornography can affect someone’s judgment about what is acceptable with children. The easy access to pictures of children or underage teens in sexual poses or engaged in sexual activities may reduce someone’s inhibitions about behaving sexually with children or teens. Even viewing questionably legal images of adult models made to look much younger (even prepubescent) can distort a person's understanding of what is acceptable behavior with children or teens. This can lead someone who may not be sexually attracted to children to behave sexually towards a child.
Child pornography is illegal because it is evidence of a crime and harms all children. Some people refer to child pornography images as “crime scene photographs” to make the point that taking such pictures and behaving sexually with a child are crimes. Viewing child pornography perpetuates an industry which harms children. Some adults may justify their viewing of child pornography by saying to themselves or others that they would never behave sexually with a child in-person. You can remind them that it is still illegal.