Is your kid addicted to porn?

Is your kid addicted to porn? Has your kid ever seen porn? Are you 100% sure that your child has not seen porn? A new study in the UK suggests that parents may need to keep a closer eye on their children with regards to porn.

The study found that four out of five 16-year old boys and girls look at porn online on a regular basis. It also found that one in three 10-year olds has seen explicit material. Wow!  How is this happening? Don't parents know that there are controls that they can install on computers that can block inappropriate websites? There are parental controls for smartphones as well. Parents need to be informed about how to prevent their children from accessing inappropriate material on the internet. More and more teens have computers in their rooms and have smart phones. Porn is more accessible today than ever. When I was a teen, porn was available in magazines and on video at the rental store. There was no phone or ipod.

I know a lot of parents don't think that their child would dare look at porn. Teens and preteens are curious and their hormones are in full gear so it's possible that they will be curious. We as a society have exposed our children to too much sexual content. There are half naked women in commercials, videos and magazines. There are too many advertisements for viagra and other products like it. These things are contributing to children being more curious about sex and doing so at a young age. It's up to the parents to teach their children what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behavior. Porn is meant to be viewed by responsible adults who can view and manage the content emotionally.

The United States does not have a lot of research on this subject but the University of New Hampshire did a study on the subject.  This report shows 72% of the participants had viewed porn before the age of 18, with most of the exposure occurring between 14 and 17 years old.  About half of boys and one third of girls said they felt shame after viewing porn. 

A teen in Utah admitted to being addicted to porn. He is a normal 17-year old that was a good student, played sports and he was on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. He looked at porn on his family's computer late at night when his family was asleep. He was always careful to clear the history so that no one would know which websites his visited. The teen would also search normal sites after he cleared the history so that no one would know that he cleared the history.  The teen started to feel like he was not himself. Some of the warning signs of addiction may be depression, isolation, poor perfomance in school and lying. According to experts, porn can become a way to deal with negative emotions and it can provide a high. His parents noticed that he was lying but they didn't know why. After getting the courage to talk to his father, the teen was able to seek help for his addiction.

A22-year old young woman in Texas says that she was addicted to porn all throughout her high school years. She started looking at porn around the age of 12. Before she knew it, she was addicted.  She knew other kids in her grade that were addicted as well. 

Both now work with a group called "Fight the New Drug".  This group travels to schools around the country to teach students that finding images of sex a turn-on is not bad or weird, but normal, which is how it gets dangerous.  The founder of Fight the New Drug expereinced addiction in his own family and wants to de-stigmatize the habit enough so that kids who are addicted will seek help.  The group wants to educate teens on what happens to the brain when viewing porn.

The group describes it as follows:
"Viewing pornography is like pushing a button in the brain that releases four pleasure-inducing chemicals so you feel good. But here's the catch. The more chemicals released, the more you want. It's a cycle and it can get beyond your control. Your brain starts needing more raunchier images to achieve the same high and its hard to stop".

Parents, please talk to your kids about this issue.  With all of the sexting going on in schools, most children don't realize that this is porn.  Some students are sharing sexual images on flash drives as well as on their smart phones.  I realize that many parents don't want to invade their child's privacy by looking at their computers, ipods and cell phones but you should at least have a conversation about this issue.  I believe that every parent should take the necessary steps to keep their child from having access to porn.   

 

 

 

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