Cartoon porn is an incredibly popular genre of anime style porn leading the way. As there are no laws about what cartoon characters can be drawn doing, nor what age they can legally represent, artists are free to experiment with all manner of impossible scenarios and cartoon porn is opening up a market of extreme violence and fetish images to fans.

While the ever growing appetite for pornography might make this unsurprising to many, there is a sinister and paedophilic aspect to cartoon porn that many are unaware of. Not only are the characters drawn often appearing like children, but children themselves are targeted as an audience in what appears to be a grooming operation.

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Rule 34

Rule 34 states that "if it exists, there is porn of it." Any conceivable subject can be sexualized, and there will be a market for that particular fetish. This is often seen as humorous, and Rule 34 creators will make content purely to ensure that Rule 34 is sustained. However, the extreme amount of content of children's cartoon characters has gone beyond this. Characters marketed to children such as My Little Ponies, Disney Princesses and Marvel's super heroes are being sexualized and used in often degrading and violent sexual imagery at quite an alarming rate.

My Little Pony

#My Little Pony is one of the most likely to be fetishized brands to be turned into pornography, with male fans, known as bronies, who call themselves "cloppers" behind the bulk of it.

My Little Pony is targeted primarily at primary school age girls, and the main characters are intended to be representative of pre-pubescent girls.

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Pornhub released statistics on the interest in My Little Pony porn and revealed that the "cloppers" who seek out My Little Pony Porn are 290% more likely to be aged 18-24 than any other age. The images frequently feature rape and violent BDSM scenes.

Grooming children

Many of the sexualised images of children's characters are not filtered out of search engines and are tagged with descriptions that children themselves might search for. While Rule 34 might seem like a joke amongst adults, some aspects are deliberately targeting children, normalising images of children being sexualised both to the adults searching for it and the children themselves who are exposed to it. This puts children directly in danger.

In an increasingly technologically focused era, parents are depending more and more on gadgets to occupy their children. While most of us will ensure safety filters designed to prevent children being exposed to explicit and inappropriate imagery are enabled, a lot of these images are not being stopped.

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The charity Prevent Child Abuse list the damage that can be done to children exposed to adult images, including being desensitised, leading children to perform sex acts they have come to see as normal. This normalisation is precisely what is intended in the deliberate grooming of children by paedophiles.

How to stop it

Ensure your internet safety settings are set as high as possible as this will filter out a lot of these images. But also ensure children aren't on YouTube or looking for things on search engines without supervision. Most of us will use TV and tablets as entertainment for at least part of the day, and we shouldn't feel guilty for that. It gives us a chance to do jobs, or simply have a cup of coffee in peace. We don't have to give that up, but we should do it with awareness. We can keep our children safe from this, we just have to exercise caution and be aware of what's out there.