You may not believe pornography is a child safety issue, but as a child safety educator (to kids and adults) who’s done her homework, I’m here to disagree. In my opinion,
Two topics are of particular concern right now regarding today’s kids: sextortion and pornography
To read about the current sextortion scheme that’s making the rounds, click here.
In the event you don’t believe pornography and kids is a thing, see this infographic.
As I stated in this blog post, kids are treating pornography like sex education. In fact, in the very informative Common Sense Media Report on Teens and Pornography, teens said their top reason to view pornography was, “… a desire to better understand their own sexual preferences…”
But as kids watch adults have sex, they’re learning so much more.
Of the kids who reported viewing pornography, the majority said they’d seen aggressive and/or violent forms of pornography.
According to this article on PubMed, 88.2% of the pornographic content studied included aggression both physical and verbal.
Even more alarming,
Some of the scenes the kids viewed included, “… rape, choking, or someone in pain.”
Consuming this content regularly has the potential to teach kids that sex and violence go together. To see a researcher in the field discuss this issue in a 3-minute video, click here and scroll down a bit.
Kids are also seeing women treated poorly.
That same PubMed article said in pornography, the aggressors are typically male, and the targets of the aggression are overwhelmingly female.
But wait, there’s more. According to the Common Sense Media Report:
Kids viewing pornography are also exposed to racial and ethnic stereotypes.
So much so, some of the participants in the study reported feeling disgusted by pornographic scenes of this nature.
In addition to the problems mentioned above,
Pornography viewership can have bad outcomes for people of all ages.
Not everyone who views pornography experiences a negative outcome, but the Instagram account @exoduscry posted a list of issues that can result from viewing porn:
- Brain fog
- Body dysmorphia (a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance)
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
- Erectile dysfunction
- And more
Feel free to use this information as a conversation catalyst.
Tell your child something like: “I’ve read that lots of kids are viewing pornography in an attempt to learn more about sex. What concerns me is that pornography sometimes shows aggression and abuse of women and minorities. I don’t want you thinking that’s what sex is all about. What are you curious about? If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find it for you.”
Like I mentioned in this blog post, if you don’t feel comfortable discussing pornography with your kids, check out resources like Amy Lang’s Birds and Bees and Kids website.
In addition, you also have the option of utilizing parental monitoring systems like the ones compared here. These systems watch out for a number of threats to your child such as pornography, cyberbullying, and sexual predators. For faith-based monitoring options, click here.
The news about pornography and kids isn’t all doom and gloom.
Kids are smart. Though 45% of the kids surveyed believe pornography gives helpful information about sex, only 27% believe pornography accurately shows sex.
In closing, I want to encourage you to read the Common Sense Media Report about pornography and kids. The report’s findings helped me understand the issue, and honestly, be less alarmed about it. The fact of the matter is, kids want to speak with a safe and trusted adult about sex and what it’s all about. I can be that safe and trusted adult. Can you?
Diane Tarantini says
In the event you didn’t watch the video, here are the highlights:
-From 2008 to 2011, exposure of pornography to kids under 13 went from 14% to 49%.
-Pornography teaches people you’re supposed to be violent when you’re intimate.
-The brain scans of men when they looked at pornography lit up the part of the brain that deals with objects, not people.
-50 studies link pornography with sexual violence.