Pornography Addiction in Teens
While it may be perfectly normal and healthy for teenagers to develop curiosity in their sexuality, changing times have brought with them alarming statistics addressing teens hooked on pornography. Thanks (or no thanks) to the internet and cable television, there is a huge collection of pornographic images available for unrestricted viewing by adults as well as teenagers.
In the past, young people could not easily access pornographic materials unless they went an extra mile to scavenge from trash or access hidden adult collections. Today, they don’t have to expend any effort searching -it is all overly accessible. Even children armed with only rudimentary computer skills can unlock the floodgates to a barrage of X-rated images. It takes only a couple of mouse clicks to gain access.
Most unfortunately teens are inundated with a barrage of sexual stimuli before their capacity to integrate such materials into their sexual identity is fully developed. Thinking about it, much of the teen pornography issues reflect the broader social reality and the fact that pornography has officially gone mainstream.
Teenagers, being in their formative stages, are quite unsure about their sexual identity and to them pornography is not much different than a trip to the candy shop. They revel in the newfound euphoric feelings while at the same time secretly connecting with other folks with whom they share similar sexual tastes.
Studies done on this area have ascertained that pornography has roared into our everyday life so overwhelming that the existing social science models of treatment can no longer contain the phenomenon. Many young people suffer from exposure to pornography because it is an addictive force that is slowly consuming their productivity and capturing their creativity.
The Impact of Pornography on Teenagers
While the definition of pornography is clear, the effects it has on teenagers is still a hotly debated topic. There are a few empirical studies that have been done on the issue, but they are yet to give a conclusive view. The reasons behind the scarcity in clinical research data is because many teenagers are often reluctant in speaking about their sexual habits. Lifeline For Youth understand the shame and remorse your child experiences and our trained counselors know how to open the lines of communication. Many of the studies done show a strong correlation between teen exposure to pornography and the potential for serious harm. For instance, in 1999, Benedek and Brown conducted a research on this area and noted some negative effects of pornography on teenagers. Among the findings included:
Imitation and modeling of inappropriate behaviors
Unhealthy interference with the normal sexual development process
Emotional side effects such as nightmares and feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, and
Premature stimulation of sexual activity
Development of potentially harmful and misleading attitudes towards sex
In addition to the risks above, other researchers found out later on that teen pornography addiction is associated with risks such as poor social bonds and aggressive sexual patterns. If left unchecked, youth porn can lead to addiction which is considered a pervasive phenomenon
In terms of chemical processes, pornography has been found to be powerful in the creation of biochemical rush among teenagers. Basically, when teenagers are exposed to arousing images, epinephrine is secreted from the adrenaline gland into the bloodstream. Once it gets here, it is transported to the brain where it successfully locks the image in.
Once the image mapping has been completed, it takes a simple recollection of the image to trigger an arousal. For this reason, teens can vividly recall the pornographic images they were exposed to years ago while they were still young children.
Other chemicals that come into play to create the euphoric state in the addicted teenagers include adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, each of which are responsible for addictions, be it drug or behaviorally induced.. When teenagers experience this biochemical thrill, they unsurprisingly, look for every opportunity available to experience it again. At this point, practitioners consider pornography to be more than merely a social issue. They aptly categorize it as a drug because of its addictive nature.
Gender, Multicultural, and Socioeconomic Considerations
Cultures tend to have established parameters defining what is appropriate with sexuality. While some of these cultures are much broader in perspective, others are much narrower, making the sexuality topic almost a taboo to mention. Practitioners in this field usually approach cultures with care as they educate themselves on the various norms.
The most affected gender has been the males, but the rate of teenage girls hooked on pornography is also rising. Many of the girls turn to pornography with the aim of using it as the blueprint for their sexual activities and development.
When it comes to socioeconomic considerations, the most vulnerable teens to pornography are those coming from challenged backgrounds. In the same research by Benedek and Brown, children from single parent homes are particularly at risk. Other risk groups include youth with mental and emotional challenges and teens who have lived through sexual or physical abuse.
How to Address Pornography Addictions
There are various therapeutic options for teens at risk of pornography addiction or those who are addicted. Some of the considerations you have to make when handling such sensitive cases include:
Shame is one of the major factors for teens struggling with pornography. Some may be
hesitant to answer questions while others avoid eye contact altogether. In addressing such cases, you should try to minimize the shame by being
non-judgmental and supportive about their struggles.
Normalizing the Problem
A lot of teenagers with compulsive porn problems tend to suffer in isolation. Many of them believe they are alone and perverts in their actions. To handle this, you have to reassure them that their problem is one of the prevalent issues, but still communicate clearly the dangers it has on them.
Porn addiction recovery is not something that is available at all teen addiction treatment centers. If you suspect that your child has had repeated exposure to inappropriate material on the internet, on television, or in print, you need Lifeline For Youth. We can provide targeted and specialized pornography addiction treatment. The porn addiction treatment options provided at Lifeline For Youth can help break the cycle of bad choices and physical addiction. Call today for information.