The term pornography has been used since the middle of the 19th century and originally comes from Ancient Greek meaning "to write about whores/fornication". Today, magazines, books, films, videos, images, text, computer games depicting sexual activities, the human sexual organs as well as the sexual act in detail, are called pornography.
According to the jurisprudence of Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, pornography is present when "a depiction, excluding all other human references, focuses on sexual activity in a grossly intrusive manner and whose overall tendency is exclusively or predominantly aimed at sexual stimulation” (see BGHSt 23,44;37,55 – German Federal Court of Justice in Criminal Cases 23,44;37,55).
Under § 184 StGB pornographic material – which not only includes photos, books, illustrations, videos and magazines, but also all analogue and digital sound and image carriers as well as data storage media (e.g. hard disks, RAM, floppy disks, CD, DVD etc.) – must not be made accessible to young people under the age of 18.
This means you are liable for prosecution if you offer, show or sell pornographic images, depictions or films to those under 18.
You can already be prosecuted just for saying pornic things to under 14 year olds under §176 Abs.4 Nr.4 StGB (Paragraph 176, Section 4, Point 4 of StGB). For instance, the unsolicited sending of Whatsapp messages or e-mails with pornographic content, the unsolicited showing of pornographic images, films etc. on the mobile phone or the dissemination of pornographic content online without sufficient access restrictions for minors are all punishable offences. Sharing pornographic images, films etc. with minors, whether via the Internet/mobile phone or other media, is also punishable by law. Legal action can be taken against those confronting others with pornographic content in chat rooms. Because harassing others in chat rooms with expressions of a sexual nature or asking you for nude photographs or sending pornographic images is punishable in many cases.
Incidentally, you yourself can also be punished by law for doing this. Using pornography online is subject to age restrictions. Unfortunately, many providers do not stick to these regulations.
Furthermore: There are also legal prohibitions on the use of pornography for adults. So-called "hardcore pornography" falls under this area. This includes: violent pornography, sexual acts with animals and above all child pornography. Anyone loading pornographic content like this onto their mobile phone or PC is liable for prosecution. For adults the possession or passing on of “soft” pornography is not punishable where they own it or are passing it on to other mutually consenting adults.
If you come across websites on the Internet that present pornographic content without sufficient access control for minors, or if you accidentally come across websites with hardcore pornography, report this to the Internet Complaints Office and then delete the page immediately.