How does Pornography Affect Teens?

May 17, 2012

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In a recent news story, two teenagers came clean of their addictions; both suffer from pornography addiction.

One was a young man from Utah, 17, who said his experience with pornography addiction was a lonely time in his life. He began viewing pornographic images at a young age and couldn't stop throughout his high school experience until now. He felt isolated and trapped, as if he couldn't confide in anyone. He would lie to his parents, his relationships began to fail, and he felt alone. He said he felt he couldn't improve or even start new relationships with others because he felt he was lying to them by not being honest with his addiction.

The young woman, 22, from Texas revealed that her addiction to pornography, like many others, began when she was young. She said she would isolate herself because she hated what she was doing and hated that she couldn't stop viewing it. To many, porn is a man's problem. She discredits this idea with her personal experience with addiction. Her story is one of empowerment and courage for all addicts but especially for female addicts.

Both teens are advocates for an anti-porn campaign called Fight the New Drug.” The campaign seeks to educate teens on the effects of porn.

For many teens, porn is a way to deal with negative emotions. It provides a euphoric high. that numbs away painful feelings. It's a “de-stressor” for many. Yet Matt Bulkley, a psychotherapist, believes we are just at the front end of the porn problem. He hypothesizes that in the next 5-10 years, a surge of porn addicts will appear. When the rising generation moves into adolescence, there will be a tragic epidemic of porn addiction, Bulkley says.

Both of these stories have common themes: pornography addiction affects teens in dramatic ways. It causes addicts to isolate themselves, become depressed and lonely, have poor school performance, and oftentimes they begin lying.

However, another common thread is hope. These personal accounts demonstrate that addiction can be beaten. Many have overcome its brain-damaging effects and are free from the grips of pornography.

If we are going to battle this forthcoming epidemic, we must prepare. We must protect ourselves and the teenagers we know from unintentional exposure to risqué images. The young man in Utah has internet filters on his mobile device to block pornographic images; we, too, can install and use filtering systems. Take advantage of Google and Youtube's SafeSearch features and parental controls by others. Every step should be taken to prevent pornography addiction.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.