PORNOGRAPHY AWARENESS FOR PARENTS
In the last few years, I have seen more and more requests from teens seeking help for problematic pornography use. Here is an example of the type of email I often receive.
One teen wrote,
“I don’t want help… I need help! Porn is a habit I need to break.
Trying to sleep, but can’t? I look at porn! Gotta go to the bathroom?
Great, while I’m sitting, I look at porn. No matter what is happening, I always turn to porn.
I need and want to quit, but don’t know where to start!”
IS THIS YOUR CHILD or TEENAGER?
Upon reaching out to this person, I discovered he is a 16-year-old male who has been viewing pornography since age 12. His parents are unaware of his problematic pornography use.
He needs help; however, is very frightened to discuss his pornography problem with his parents.
I hope the following information will raise your awareness about the potential danger pornography use can have on children and adolescents.
As most people know, pornography has become more accessible due to the internet. The article “20 Mind-Blowing Stats About The Porn Industry And Its Underage Consumers“, indicates that internet pornography is estimated to be a $97 billion international industry (NBC News) and growing daily.
The article “Internet Pornography by The Numbers; A Significant Threat to Society”, discusses how internet pornography use hurts teens. It reports the following effects on teens:
It increases the odds of teenage pregnancy. Adolescents who are frequently exposed to sexual
content have a higher likelihood of teenage pregnancy.
Pornography hinders sexual development. During the adolescent development phase teens are
learning how to handle their sexuality, sexual beliefs and moral values. Teens who are viewing
pornography get a disoriented or distorted view of sexuality.
It raises the risk of depression. The article suggests a significant relationship exists between
teens with frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness and depression.
Pornography creates distorted expectations which hinder healthy sexual development.
Adolescents who engage in frequent pornography use have lower sexual self-esteem.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
Parents need to understand that their children have probably been exposed to pornography on the internet, by society or by acquaintances. The article, “Advice for Parents of Teen Porn Addicts“, indicates that Former Attorney General Jon Ashcroft has estimated that nine in ten teens have been exposed to pornography.
In the article, “For Parents: Your Child Just Told You They Struggle with Porn, Now What”, reports that half of kids are exposed to pornography by accident. It says parents need to be prepared to discuss pornography in a reasonable manner. Shaming and judging the adolescent is not going to help the situation and will probably close an important line of communication. Children and teens are probably uncomfortable discussing the topics of sex and pornography with their parents. If they already have a problem, they are probably scared to admit it. Parents need to listen and be supportive. Parents need to educate their children about the harmful effects of pornography.
Parents also need to educate their children about sexuality. Some adolescents may start using pornography to become educated about sex, but viewing pornography is not a healthy way to learn about sex.
Parents need to be loving, while at the same time help the child understand the dangers pornography poses. Along with showing support, it is important to act by blocking internet connected devices from accessing pornography whenever possible.
Even though it may be uncomfortable, parents need to get involved. They need to start talking to their kids about sex and dangers of pornography use if they wish to convey healthy values. Depending upon the severity of the problem, the adolescent might also benefit from therapy.
For more information, please visit www.stevenjchen.com.