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Your teen is probably watching porn right now: Should you be worried?

The thought of your child watching porn might make you uncomfortable. But, moving past that discomfort, you need to figure out if their porn habits are a topic of concern or not. We are all aware that porn is very alluring, but it can also be very destructive. As a parent, you deserve to know how it’s affecting your child.

If you believe your child never has or never will come across any form of pornographic content. Then you’re probably living under a rock. Mostly, with your child held captive with you under the rock. But even in that scenario, it’s difficult to find a place where you have absolutely no cell or internet service. This is just the world we live in today. With high-speed internet, porn is available everywhere, 24/7, with no restrictions or regulations. Anyone with a decent internet connection can access pornography with ease. It’s just one click away from us.

Gone are the days where you’d have to his dog-eared adult magazines under your bed. Worried that someone would find them. You longer have to look through movies just to find that one makeout scene. Now, everything is readily available at your fingertips. Whatever variety or category of porn you’re into, there sure is a category for everyone. 

How does this affect teens and tweens?

Based on the type of porn available on the market today, and the volume that it is available in, here is porn can affect your child’s life:

Violent Behaviour

Pornographic content today is getting more and more violent as time passes. The trends in this industry are gearing more towards degradation, violence, and humiliation with each passing second. This can have a huge impression, especially on young impressionable minds. When kids see this sort of behaviour on their screens constantly, they start to believe that is how they need to behave in real life as well.

For example, the degradation of the female gender is a huge trend in the porn industry. It attracts a lot of viewers. When impressionable young boys come across this, they tend they believe that is how they need to treat the opposite sex. They fail to differentiate between reel and reality. This is dangerous has is one of the larger causes of growing rape cases globally. With the male gender being sold a huge amount of content objectifying women, without being taught right from wrong at the right age; violence against women is growing globally.

Porn Addiction

Pornography can be extremely addictive. Especially for younger minds, that get easily influenced by everything around them. 

Sexual curiosity is very normal at this age. 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to porn before the age of 18. Around the age of 12-16 is when most kids in the current generation come across porn. Be it, intentionally or unintentionally. This curiosity that exists towards sexual behaviours and activities can soon turn into something way more dangerous due to a lack of regulation and proper parenting. 

When indulging in porn, the brain releases dopamine. The more porn you watch, the more your brain associates it with the dopamine that is being secreted into your body. This is how the cycle of addictions begins. As your brain gets used to the dopamine, it starts to crave it. When it does not receive its usual dose of dopamine, this is when the uncontrollable urges to watch pornography begin. In a younger mind, this process works even faster and the child can easily get addicted to internet porn. Which is why it is important to monitor what your kid is doing on the internet. Also, important to install a porn blocker to ensure their safety. 

Mental Health Disorders

Research has associated porn addiction with various forms of mental health disorders in the recent past. People who compulsively consume porn are more likely to deal with depression, chronic loneliness, and anxiety disorders. These side effects are heightened in a younger brain.

The more pornography a child indulges in, the more likely they are to be pulled away from reality. This can cause social anxiety among children, making them more prone to avoiding social interactions. They can become extremely introverted and socially withdrawn, stunting their ability to form meaningful relationships in the future. 

During the developing years, the teen brain can be easily influenced and rewires. This is why is it so important to ensure your child isn’t indulging in anything that can prove dangerous to their future.

Physical Health

Apart from the effect that porn addiction can have on one’s brain, it can also affect the physical growth of the child. Experts believe that if a child is exposed to pornographic content at a very young age, it can impact their sexual growth. Research has found that porn addiction can stunt one’s sexual growth and health. 

Apart from this, it can also cause highly confused feelings regarding one’s sexuality. Feelings that are too complex for a young mind and body to comprehend. These new feelings and lack of understanding about them can lead to various side effects that can affect your child’s physical health. 

Why The Porn Industry Targets Kids

As vile and unethical as it is, one of the top goals of the porn industry is to attract a younger audience. This is the fastest way for them to increase their market reach. Here’s why.

When an adolescent comes across porn and experiences a sexually riven dopamine rush, they are:

  1. They are keen on repeating the behaviour that caused the rush
  2. They figure out how easy it is t experience that rush again as porn is so readily available.
  3. A young mind often doesn’t pay much heed to the consequences of their actions.
  4. Teens easily develop a consumer mentality and keep going back for more.
  5. Inability to differentiate reel from real and look at the bigger picture. 

All these points make young teens the target demographic for the porn industry. The various spam advertisements and spam movies are just a way for the porn industry to incite more young viewers. Statistics say that the porn websites alre 75% of the time successful in getting teens to click on their adverts. While the clicks by adults on these adverts are way less. This is why as a parent it is your duty to stay on top of your game and ensuring their safety. 

What can you do?

This can be a tough time for both you and your child.These tips should help you deal with this in a way that is comfortable for both you and your child. 

Remain connected to your child

Your kid might always remain a kid in your eyes and mind. But, in reality, they’re growing. They’re growing up and discovering various things about them that they weren’t previously aware of. They’re discovering a lot about themself right now and they need your support. Be supportive and remain connected with them. Make them feel comfortable enough with you that always come to you with their problems rather than trying to figure everything out on their own.

Limit Internet Usage 

You obviously can’t ban them from using the internet, and you shouldn’t have to. That is not a healthy way to go about this. The Internet is a necessity today and is highly useful to all of us. Teach your child the right way to be on the internet. To use it as and when necessary and avoid chances of addiction.  

The best way to do this would be to lead by example. Don’t constantly spend time scrolling through your internet gadgets. Avoid using your mobile phone strictly during dinner and other family activities. Put a limit on their internet usage, taking into consideration their homework and school needs. Instead, organise other fun and useful activities that can help them spend less time on the internet.

Discuss the reality

Don’t just ban them from using the internet. Instead, have an open conversation with them. If you’re telling them why they shouldn’t be watching porn at this porn, do let them know why. Fill them in on the dangers of the internet, like you would try explaining it to a friend. Educate them about the harm it can cause to their lives. 

Just blatantly ordering them to do or not do something will cause more harm than good. Children are naturally curious. It’s in their nature. So, it’s only natural that they’d be curious about sex. So, it’s best to have an open conversation with them. This way you can avoid them going looking for answers elsewhere. 

As a parent, you’ll probably go through this situation sooner or later. Better be prepared than sorry!

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