Internet porn: addictive, may have long-lasting ill effects on youth

After I read this disturbing article in Psychology Today about the potentially very harmful effects of today’s brutal, extreme and widely available internet pornography on a young person’s developing sexuality, I immediately gave it to my 14-year-old son to read. He needs to know. The author, Marnia Robinson, finds a correlation between sexual dysfunction and porn addiction. And she has been hearing from more and more young men and boys.

An excerpt:

It has long been known that overstimulating the brain’s reward circuit with drugs can cause cravings for more and more. Now, research is revealing that non-drug, “natural” things, like junk food, can alter the neurochemical balance of this part of the brain like drugs—numbing response to normal stimuli. The symptoms heavy porn users report suggest that their brains are experiencing these very changes.

The author offers some suggestions on how to help your kids “steer for balance in today’s superstimulating environment.”

I wish all children were learning what they need to navigate the world in schools, from trained educators. In the old days, way, way before the internet, we would never toss our children out, defenseless, into the wild. They would have a gun and would know how to use it.

Today, in the absence of comprehensive sex education in schools, combined with a lack of media literacy education, we are effectively tossing our kids out into the wilderness to fend for themselves. And the wolves are bigger and meaner than ever.

Young people are both naturally curious about all things sexual, and lacking in the maturity and context to understand what they are seeing when they come across the deviant pornography that has become so easy to find on the web. I’ve talked to my son about the risks of both unhealthy relationships and addiction. But, as a non-expert in human sexuality, I’m sure I am not the best source of information for him. I told him, lamely, to avoid violent, degrading porn, hoping he will know it when he sees it. He agrees, though, that, “It can’t be good for you.” So this article was a real help to me to explain in more specific terms, just why it isn’t good for you.

If you have any ideas on protecting all of our kids from these risks, please share them here.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: