Choo-Choo Porn: Is It Worse Than Crack?

by anna on April 21, 2009

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Choo-Choo train pornography was once only available through mail order videos involving plain-wrapped, discreet packaging. However, thanks to Mommy and Daddy’s iPhones, train porn is now readily available to toddlers everywhere via train videos that can stream instantaneously from video sites located on the internet. And this new technology is quickly becoming the new toddler version of crack cocaine, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee last week. Excessive watching of trains on YouTube can lead the unassuming toddler to choo-choo addiction, trainophilia, obsessive bookmarking of train representations, fixation on train-themed toys and events, a gradual desensitizing to or distaste for “realistic, everyday” trains, and/or an ever-increasing need to find new, more exciting and far-fetched train scenarios.

Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee made no bones of calling toddler exposure to train pornography irresponsible and foolhardy, and accusing parents who provide their toddlers with regular access to train pornography “shameful” and “poor excuses for human beings.” Mindy Wetblanket, co-director of the Toddler Train Pornography Rehabilitation and Work Release Program at the University of Poughkeepsie, called train porn the “most disturbing thing to normal toddler development that I know to be existing today. And for the record, yes, I do include Barney in that generalization.”

“The iPhone is a perfect drug delivery system for toddler train porn because it is always available, free, and some children know how to use it better than the grownup the iPhone belongs to,” Wetblanket said. “To have the drug at arm’s length always–it’s a perfect set up for creating a whole generation of train porn addicts who will never be able to get the drug out of their mind. The phone will be ringing, and the kid will literally think, ‘Is that a choo-choo calling for me?!’ and refuse to give it back to their parent. Is this the kind of thing you want to start seeing? Well, get used to it. That’s the society we’re building.”

Toddler train addicts have “a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts,” Wetblanket went on to claim, because at least cocaine users can get the drug out of their system. “Train images stay in the brain forever,” Wetblanket explained, “Eventually, you want to grow up and move on to–I don’t know, bikes, or baseball, or something–action figures, maybe. But the trains are still there, burned into the psyche.” Though Wetblanket later admitted that toddlers are not as likely to be addicted to cocaine in the first place, given their lack of money and the verbal wherewithal to communicate their needs directly to a dealer, she maintained that, “the comparison stands.”

Geoffrey Stickinthemudd, a clinical psychologist and advisor to the National Association for Responsible Smart Phone Use in Parenting echoed Wetblanket’s concern about the iPhone and the somatic effects of over-exposure to trains.

“Videos of trains are dangerous because they remove the inefficiency in the delivery of train pornography–trains are always available, even without a trip down to the local automatic switch signal or station. Trains are much more ubiquitous today than they were in the days when you had to wait a few weeks for a train to arrive at a station, or risk cinders in your eye while watching for it,” Stickinthemudd said.

The hearing came just days after a controversy over the addition of several new train-themed shows to Noggin’s afternoon lineup, a move by Nickelodeon that has many foreseeing a crackdown on train indecency by the Federal Communications Commission.

It is unclear what the consequences of last week’s hearing will be since it was not connected to any pending or proposed legislation. However, as the panelists themselves acknowledged, there is no consensus among anyone–parents, teachers, professionals, about the dangers of train porn or the use of the term “train addiction.” Story still developing.

{ 5 comments }

Kerry April 21, 2009 at 7:15 am

Stop making me want an iPhone, dammit.

I am actually in the process of planning a weekend trip up north around the “Day Out With Thomas” event in Green Bay. Sir Topham Hatt will be there, and you can ride a real Thomas train.

I justify pushing the train thing by pointing out that a huge bunch of my ancestors were railroad workers. I’m totally getting my kids in touch with their roots. It’s, like, noble.

Kerry´s last blog post..3 Things to Do Before Your Job Interview

Deb on the Rocks April 21, 2009 at 7:15 am

Interestingly, children raised in European countries with a less repressed view of trains as a social construct and with public policy that sanctions the open use of trains as daily transportation are found to have a substantially weaker limbic response to video train images than do their American cohorts. They also experience high overall satisfaction rates with trains and train transport without needing the increased stimulus that is the hallmark of compulsive high-seeking behavior.

Deb on the Rocks´s last blog post..On Prom and Susan Boyle

Drama Queen Jenner April 21, 2009 at 8:49 am

Is this a fetish thing? Or a gender thing? My girls could care less about train porn.

Drama Queen Jenner´s last blog post..Bad Parent! Sit! Stay!

anna April 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

It may well be a gender thing, though I think that Mini will always like trains, based on how much he likes them now.

AKD April 21, 2009 at 10:24 am

My nephews both had similar obsessions… one in particular with construction equipment. But I do remember a great interest in trains as well. They do grow out of it, and get interested in other things (like drama and Harry Potter). I think very few toddlers who are overly obsessed with trains grow up to work for Amtrak. However, I think the nephew who was so into construction equipment will grow up to do something with his hands. He is very mechanically inclined (his dad is a engineer) and likes to build things.

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