Your Child’s Brain on Porn

Dec 13, 2016

Pornography continues to be a controversial topic in our society, especially among parents. The idea of our kids watching porn is a tough pill to swallow, but as we all know, it’s harder than ever for parents to block porn from their kids with access to the internet. An innocent Google search can lead kids directly to mature content in a matter of seconds.

As the internet has become a necessity for students, technology has developed along with it, and now programs are available to block porn from kids and help parents protect them from inappropriate content, but what if a child is accidentally exposed? What is the real effect of porn on a child’s brain?

Some experts claim there is such a thing as “porn addiction” whereas others say it doesn’t actually exist. Instead they believe someone who watches a lot of pornography is usually struggling with loneliness, a deep emotional wound, a loss of sexual attraction in a relationship, or another issue that results in increased porn consumption. Health care professionals don’t have a set diagnosis of “porn addiction”, but that doesn’t mean watching porn is a good idea for children whose brains are still developing and learning what love, sex, and relationships are all about.

The effects of porn on a child’s brain go beyond the dangers of addiction to the issue of allowing pornography to erroneously educate kids on how love and sex should occur. Sex education for children should not be left up to schools and teachers only, it’s important for parents to step in and help teach their kids about healthy relationships, love, and sex.

Due to the vulnerable nature of a child’s brain, it is important for parents to protect their children from pornography and there are tools designed to do just that. Parental control software is made to help parents avoid their kids from stumbling upon porn site while browsing the internet or social media. This can be a huge advantage to parents trying to educate their children on healthy relationships since porn can give developing brains a skewed view of healthy sexual expression.

Negative Effects Porn Can Have on A Child’s Brain:

  • Desensitization to sexual situations which leads to acting out sexualized situations with other kids and potentially engaging in dangerous sexual behavior as an adolescent.
  • Shock and fear associated with viewing unfamiliar bodies acting in a way kids don’t understand.
  • Autonomic sexual arousal from these images can be confusing for a child who doesn’t understand what they are watching.
  • For children that aren’t getting other forms of sex education, watching porn can teach them that sex and love do not coincide.
  • Promotes objectification of women and a skewed view of what makes for a healthy sexual relationship.
  • Viewing porn at a young age activates the “fight or flight” response which then can create an emotional attachment to similar images.

Tips to Combat Accidental Exposure to Porn:

  • Keep open communication with your children about sex and relationships. If they see mature content in a movie or TV show, talk to them about it and ask them questions such as: Does it seem like those people are in love? How can you tell? By keeping an open and ongoing dialogue about love and sex, parents can help their children to have healthy and happy future relationships.
  • If the images they view are explicit and don’t depict love, explain to your kids that this is not a sign of a healthy and happy relationship. Explain to them that sex should be an act that comes from a place of love and respect.
  • Tell your kids that it is illegal for them to take explicit pictures or videos, view pornography, or share pornography as a minor. Most importantly, explain to them WHY this is dangerous behavior and the consequences that can come from it including legal ramifications.

The best way to teach your kids about healthy, happy relationships is by example and treating the people around you with love and respect. By educating kids on what a good relationship should be like, parents are taking control of this situation and their children will be better prepared to handle accidentally seeing pornography without it having a strong effect.

A good way to protect your children from being exposed to porn or mature content is by using a trusted parental control software that makes it easier to let them browse and explore the internet without coming across content that is too mature for them to handle. As always, keeping communication open and flowing and getting rid of the taboo of talking about sex with adults they trust is an invaluable parenting tool. If children feel comfortable discussing things with their parents, they are less likely to engage in dangerous or reckless sexual behavior, no matter what they may see on TV or online.