Updated on September 16, 2020
Exposure and Easy Access to Pornography Creates New Dangers for Teens
Teen pornography exposure is becoming more and more common with almost 87% of teens now online on a regular basis. Only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have never watched pornography. The average age that youth are exposed to pornography is age 11. Most teens are exposed to pornography while doing their homework.
Watching pornography can have many dangerous effects on a teen. First, viewing pornography is highly addictive and could be very disruptive to other “normal” activities that a teen is engaged in such as school, sports, and relationships; watching pornography creates a false sense of excitement and pleasure.
In addition, for adolescents or younger children, watching pornography could lead to low self-esteem as the behavior is most often hidden from others and a feeling of shame and regret begins to set in. Also, watching pornography repeatedly will desensitize one’s emotions, thus, a teenager will begin to seek out more aggressive pornography videos and images. Or even more dangerously, they will seek opportunities for actual encounters with a perpetrator in order to achieve the same feeling of sexual satisfaction or pleasure – this could lead to a “high risk” of unhealthy outcomes for teens, such as rape, prostitution, or even death.
Parental Tips: What To Do If Your Teenager is Watching Pornography
Parents should consider the following tips in confronting teens who are found to be viewing pornography. Fathers and Mothers should be caring when confronting a teen who is found to be viewing pornography. This approach will develop trust and build an alliance with the teen when discussing rules, guidelines, and concerns.
Teens are more apt to be open to suggestions and guidelines when parents are not forceful or demeaning in their presentation. Parents should discuss the reality of rules that not only apply to the real world but also the virtual world. There are places that teens should not go to in the virtual world of the internet and pornography is one of those places.
Educate Teens on the Dangers of Online Predators
1 in 5 youth is solicited online. Only 25% of teens who were solicited online informed a parent of their experience. 75% of teens shared personal information about themselves or their families in exchange for goods or services.
In 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the perpetrator used the victim’s social networking site to gain information about the victim’s likes and dislikes. 1 in 33 teens received an aggressive sexual solicitation where they were asked to meet in person at a proposed location. Parents should protect internet access in their homes. Sadly, only 1/3 of homes are actively protecting their teens against porn with the use of internet software.
According to commonsensemedia.org the easiest way to protect your kids today is to:
- Turn on Google Safe Search
- Enable Safe Search on your mobile devices and apps
- Use Screen Time on iPhones and iPads
- Ask your internet service provider for information on parental controls and content filters.