Porn Addiction Among Teens

Most people are unaware that pornography can actually be addicting. That’s not a joke or a moral judgment. People get addicted to porn and it disrupts their lives and those around them. The Internet has contributed greatly to the porn addiction phenomena because access to pornography has become easy starting from a very young age. Further, people who would normally not have access to porn, suddenly have free, easy, 24/7 availability at their fingertips AND it is even discreet and easy to hide. So how does it effect teenagers and how can you prevent it?

How does pornography reach teens online?

Many parents assume that their children are naive and will not go looking for adult content on the Internet so they do not need to worry. However, a child does not need to be actively searching online to find sexual content. It comes to him/her via email (spam), via cybersquatting (sites whose names indicate something innocent but whose content is not), via friends sending links, etc. Even when a child is exposed to adult material and realizes it is inappropriate, he may have trouble getting “out” of the site due to tricks used by some websites.

It’s out there but is it really so terrible if my teenage son sees a few naked women?

We each have our own world views and lines we draw when it comes to sexual content. What is important to realize is that the type of content available on the Internet today is not limited. Anyone can post content on the web and there is no authority that monitors, let alone controls, the content that gets posted. There is, unfortunately, an abundance of content – pictures, videos and text that goes far beyond tasteless to downright disturbing. Exposure to pornography and the various uncensored content being disseminated online gives young people a distorted view of what constitutes normal relationships and normal sexual behavior. Teens are at an age when they are formulating their sexual identity and becoming young adults. These are the years they will form their first intimate relationships.

An individual can become desensitized to “soft” porn and then seek out hardcore images and content. A teen, who is only just forming his sexual identity can be heavily influenced by the images and ideas he is exposed to. What can begin as mistaken exposure can ignite their curiosity and later lead to porn addiction.

How can you fight against this danger?

Of course it is always important to maintain an open channel of communication with your teenage children. With teenagers, it can be especially challenging. They may be resistant to sharing information with you about what they do online and certainly about their romantic and/or sexual interests. It’s important to make sure that they clearly understand what is and is not OK. The same way you may prevent your teen from subscribing to a pornography magazine, the rules should apply online as well.

However, today’s typical teenager, in his or her room late at night alone, chatting with friends, may be likely to deviate from your guidelines — even by mistake. If you suspect that your teenager is viewing inappropriate content and at risk of being exposed to pornography or even may have a porn addiction, you can take a look at what websites they have been visiting. For example, in Internet Explorer, you can choose to “View History” and take a look at each website that was visited in the last week.

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