Pornography harms children. Parents need to both protect and educate children and teens of the dangers and progressive nature of pornography.Pornography often starts soft and progresses to harder and harder types. It can be as addictive as heroin. Many who are addicted to pornography feel trapped. Pornography addiction often starts at a young age.
A survey by the University of New Hampshire in 2005 indicated that 42% of Internet users ages 10 to 17 said they had seen online pornography within a one-year time-span.
As much as we would like to think otherwise, a large number of children are exposed to pornography in their pre-teen years. This is more than just a pornographic pop-up or email that a child might come across, it involves viewing films of explicit sex, regularly looking through pornographic magazines, or viewing pornographic television and Internet
How Children are Exposed to Pornography
Exposure to pornography can be through peers, the pornography of parents or parents of friends, unsupervised and unfiltered Internet use at home or at the home of friends. It can also be through late night TV, cable TV in the bedroom of the child, or through older siblings. One child was exhibiting sexual behavior toward other children in a Kindergarten class. The mother disclosed that he watched sexually explicit films with older siblings. The older siblings were 9 and 11 years old. One third-grader is representative of many, who had pornographic pictures on his PSP unit, showing it to his friends in the public school after school program. (Newark, NJ).
The lines of pornography are not so clear anymore, as a 12 year old girl talks about pornographic pictures of Gabriella from High School Musical and pictures she has seen of her kissing another "girl" on the Internet, and sexual semi-nude pictures of pop-stars, while researching a report. Sexy semi-nudes of Hannah Montana dominate the imagination and conversation of some 5th grade boys. Sexual imagery has become so prevalent, that the book The Sexualization of Childhood explains how the lines of soft-porn have become blurred.
Psychological Distress for Children
Pornography, as well as exposure to even sexual innuendo in movies for pre-teen children, worries them, confuses them, and often times, they have no one, with the exception of equally confused peers, that they can talk to about it with. By the time a child reaches teen years, he may already have a world of misinformation about sex in their libido, that has already become something of a way of life.
In one special education class of 8, at least 5 had already been exposed to and had questions about pornography, and specific questions related to things they had seen in pornography.
Creating art can help your child develop a love for beautiful images as well as contribute to his or her self-esteem. It fills the need for visual beauty and can help a child or teen resist temptations to indulge in pornography.
Photo: David Shankbone - The Pueblo, Colorado Children's Museum
Pornography confuses a child and a teen, and can surface in difficulty behaving in class, preoccupation with sex, and inability to concentrate. It can also lead to symptoms associated with a number of mental health disorders, including depression and ADHD, and if a caregiver, or treating psychologist or psychiatrist is unaware of this aspect of mental health, it can result in inadequate treatment. Pornography can be part of the source of the child or teen's difficulty. For many youths who may be suicidal, pornography may be one of the aspects to consider.
Parents - Educate Your Children on the Dangers of Pornography
and Protect Them
Parents, then need to educate their children on the danger of pornography. Be careful not to have any porn in the house, or available in the house that might be accessible to children and teens, and to tighten up Internet use, not assuming that their children will not be exposed, no matter how good they might be.
Pages Related to How Exposure to Pornography Can Effect Children
Sexuality for Children - Media Influence
The Sexualization of Childhood by Sharna Olfman
Child Abuse Information
K9 - Free Parental Internet Filtering Software
and Tips - 24 Steps in Positive Parenting
Pages Related to Pornography, Mental Health and Pornography Addiction
The Effects of Pornography
on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D.
Effects of Pornography.
Robert A. Baron, Ph.D. Sociology summary.
Analysis of Pornography and Pornography Addiction
- Adapted from Sean Covey's book, The 6 Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make.
, Mental Health and Pornography Addiction
Other Resources for How Exposure to Pornography Harms Children
Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children
: A National Survey, (2005). MICHELE L. YBARRA, M.P.H., Ph.D., and KIMBERLY J. MITCHELL, Ph.D. University of New Hampshire.
How Pornography Harms Children
Books on Overcoming Pornography Addiction
No Excuses: televised pornography harms children
. Benedek EP, Brown CF. Harvard Review of Psychiatry. PubMed.