We've Got a Really Serious Problem, Parents. Spoiler Alert: it's Porn

Lindsay Tennant

I am going to start this off by saying this is a somewhat difficult topic for people to talk about, but we need to; we absolutely must talk about this. Gone are the days of learning about sex from a pamphlet that your mom shyly handed to you from your doctor. Gone are the days of going to the shop to buy a porno mag in order to see some naked ladies or naked guys in various states of undress. I know the internet has been around for awhile (and by a while, I mean it came about in our lifetime so we actually have no idea what the effects are long term on developing brains- hint: it’s not looking good.) I think a lot of us are burying our heads in the sand when it comes to our kids and their phones.

I am a secondary teacher and therefore spend the majority of my time around teenagers and these teenagers are spending the majority of their time glued to their mobile devices. It is almost impossible for them to go an hour for a lesson without having some sort of contact with their phones. I mean, we as adults struggle with this, so for a teen who is highly susceptible to addictive tendencies- it really is nearly impossible.

I am 37 years old and didn’t get my first mobile phone until I was 18. I didn’t have my first smart phone until I was 27. I was well past these impressionable years and I am still addicted to my smart phone- we all are- but I didn’t use them during my most impressionable years. Research is showing that smart phone use is really damaging to our children’s mental health and if phone use alone is so damaging, imagine what using these phones to watch porn is doing.

Firstly, I am not sure that kids need to have data on their phones while they are out. Call me old fashioned, but why can’t they just have the ability to call and text and then use wifi at home? People: YOUR KIDS are doing all sorts of stuff on their phones that you really wouldn’t believe. I can go on and on about the damage that just being on social media is doing to teens, but we need to tackle what porn is doing in this article.

I am going to link to some sobering websites here but let me just share some quick stats:

*Children as young as 10 are viewing pornography.

*The average age of exposure to online porn is 11.

*More than 90% of boys have seen online pornography before the age of 18.

*Online porn viewing leads to more harmful sexual behaviours.

*Online porn viewing leads to a more casual attitude towards sexual encounters and condom use.

If you look at the source above, you can read many more sobering statistics, it really has a lot of info. Another informative website is https://fightthenewdrug.org/ which has a facebook page and many interesting blog posts and videos aimed towards teaching young people and adults alike about the dangers of viewing online porn. They are really campaigning to make this information available to the general public.

As parents, we need to do better. Our children’s sex lives and romantic lives are quite literally being killed by online porn. Porn has created unrealistic sexual expectations for our children’s relationships. Young women are held to unrealistic standards to look and perform like porn stars. (Yes, it’s true- I hear how girls are being spoken to and see what they are being exposed to online). Young boys are experiencing erectile dysfunction due to the need for extreme stimulus to arouse them, and excessive masturbation.

We really don’t know what having this easy and constant access to pornography will do to our children in the long term as this is a new problem, but even in the short term- it’s dire. We need to stop letting our children have unlimited and unmonitored access to the internet. We need to be the ones to talk to them about what they should do if they stumble across porn online because that is how most children are exposed to it- accidentally. And most importantly- we must talk to our kids about sex! We need to be the ones that they come to with questions instead of relying on the internet and porn to be their teachers!

Please open that dialogue up with your kids, and if you think that your child may be addicted to porn- there is help! Please don’t bury your head in the sand and get them help if they need it.


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