Thanks to the Internet, explicit content is easier to access than ever before. This has led to an increase in reported cases of porn addiction around the world, and children are not exempt from this trend.

Increase in Porn-Addicted Australian Teens

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  • Teachers say some students “can’t make it through the school day without fulfilling their ‘need’ to see explicit images.”
  • Increasing teen porn addiction could lead to unrealistic expectations of sex and intimate relationships.

Educators in Australia are reporting that many of their students are exhibiting signs of pornography addiction. This has become part of a worrying global trend of porn addiction among young people. And given the ease with which children can access this dangerous and addictive content, parents and educators are left wondering what can be done to curb this behaviour, leading many to seek treatment for porn addiction.

This revelation came during the Australian Senate’s inquiry into the harm being done to Australian children through access to internet pornography. The inquiry explores trends in children’s consumption of online porn and looked at the impact this has on the development of healthy and respectful relationships.

In the course of the inquiry, lawmakers heard from educators, parents and others. According to The Daily Telegraph, boys as young as 12 years of age are exhibiting signs of porn addiction. They even said that some “can’t make it through the school day without fulfilling their ‘need’ to see explicit images.”

And Australia is by no means the only country struggling to determine what is to be done to stop children from accessing explicit content on their computers, devices and mobile phones. Indeed, it appears that we are witnessing a worldwide epidemic in this regard.

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The Effects of Pornography on Young People

Pornography addiction poses a threat to young people and their developing minds and worldviews. The Australian Institute of Family Studies has attempted to measure these risks. The institute acknowledges that most research on porn addiction is retrospective and involves interviewing adults or older adolescents about their previous experiences with pornography. Even so, the results are disturbing.

Here are some of the negative consequences they cited:

  • Reinforcing negative gender stereotypes
  • Contributing to the formation of unhealthy (often sexist) views of women
  • Contributing to violence against women

The concern that early pornography consumption could actually normalise sexual violence for this generation is particularly disturbing. This could, in turn, lead to unrealistic expectations of sex and intimate relationships.

If pornography is helping to establish new sexual norms for an up-and-coming generation, then parents and educators are right to be worried. This is especially true if sexual violence becomes part of that new ‘sexual norm’.

Can Teens Really Become Addicted to Porn?

Porn addiction is a type of process addiction, or a compulsive behaviour that a person feels compelled to do. Process addictions differ from substance addictions in that they do not involve dependency on a chemical substance. But they are still extremely dangerous and have the ability to destroy lives and families.

Porn addiction is not necessarily new, but the scope and intensity of this addiction has intensified exponentially in recent years. While it is true that far more men than women report an addiction to porn, this is by no means a gender-specific problem. In fact, more women than ever are addicted to pornography.

Porn addiction in adults is troubling enough, but the problem escalates when children are involved. The Internet is a notoriously difficult place to police. And unfortunately, young people are accessing Internet porn at an increasing rate.

For evidence of this, consider the following porn addiction statistics:

  • Nine out of ten boys and six out of ten girls have been exposed to some form of pornography before their eighteenth birthday
  • A boy’s first exposure to pornography occurs at an average age of 12 years old.
  • More than 70 per cent of teenagers admit to hiding what they do online from parents.

It is fairly clear that young people are both viewing pornography and hiding their online activities from adults. But revelations like those made during the Australian Senate inquiry show us that this goes beyond young people having access to objectionable material. They are also exhibiting signs of addiction.

According to a science teacher at Redfield College:

“Many of these young men find it difficult to fulfil their normal daily duties (including school work and spending time with family or friends) due to a ‘need’ to access internet pornography for excessive amounts of time.”

When the need to view pornography takes priority over schoolwork, extracurricular activities and a person’s social life, then it is likely that addiction has taken hold. This has implications for the student’s ability to study successfully, and could also lead to difficulty forming meaningful romantic relationships in the future.

Discuss How to Help Your Loved-One with an Addiction Expert

How to Help Young People Who Are Addicted to Porn

It is important to distinguish between cases of young people looking at porn and actually being addicted to pornography. There is certainly nothing new about adolescents peering at pornographic images. But when the urge to look at pornography supersedes everything else, parents and educators have to take action.

Gauging whether a person of any age is dealing with an addiction to porn can be difficult, as most engage in the activity privately. But there are a few tell-tale signs:

  • Escalating amounts of time spent alone and (presumably) viewing pornography
  • Consuming increasingly bizarre or intense sexual content
  • Irritability when confronted about the extent of their porn habits
  • Use of technology for other sexually related purposes (such ‘sexting’, webcam experiences, etc.)

Porn addiction can be difficult to talk about, especially between parents and their teenage children. However, it is absolutely imperative that a young person with such an addiction receives the care and attention they need.

This is where The Edge can help. We offer group sessions and a high level of accountability to ensure that our clients receive plenty of support.

We also supply the young people under our care with new, more constructive outlets for their energy. We incorporate physical activity into our programme to help rewire the mind so that our clients can begin a new, more productive chapter in life. Contact us today to learn more.