By LifeLine

Pornography Addiction

Pornography Addiction in Teens

By any standards, porn addiction is one of the most addictive drugs out there today. Unlike removing the substance from a drug addict, the sexual images of pornography are always within reach of the user’s memory. With easily accessible, and unlimited quantities, in light of smartphone and internet access, this habit is easier and cheaper to pick up than any substance abuse.

As a parent of a teen with porn addiction, the range of emotions you experience can be overwhelming if even suspected porn addiction in your child. Grief, shame, anger, and fear are all very real. Let’s look at some facts and information and get a handle on how to best address the issue of pornography addiction in teens, and set a course for recovery.

Amid brain development in children ages 10-13, neurons are forming at elevated rates, as some of the last gray matter growth periods before adulthood. By age 15 the brain is in full-swing producing dopamine, thus enabling the brain to register pleasure at four times the normal rate. Because the brain is still forming it can easily become wired in response to pornography exposure, resulting in lifelong consequences.

Warning Signs of Pornography Addiction

These typical symptoms of being hooked on pornography, in teens, may not all be present. It’s your job as a caregiver to be observant of any out-of-the-norm behaviors.

Sometimes pornography can be a default resulting from ‘not having anything else better to do’, which also shows a lack of self-motivation to constructive things in life, or a tendency towards complacency (self-satisfaction).

  • General secrecy and large amounts of alone time
  • Masturbation
  • Sexual aggression or age-inappropriate relationships
  • Secretive behavior on devices such as cleared history and passwords
  • Decline in school performance
  • Decline in interest in peer interaction (or increase, depending on if they look at pornography with friends)
  • Lying about the nature of romantic or sexual activities
  • Lack of empathy towards others involved
  • Excessive or non-existent interest in dating

Although there is no “official diagnosis” of porn addiction there are plenty of medical commentaries on the topic. Results of porn addiction may include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Unstable relationships with members of the opposite sex
  • Impaired concentration
  • Accompanying technology or gaming obsession
  • Low motivation
  • Depression (and/or easily depressed )
  • Negative self-perception / Low self-esteem
  • Sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction (ED)

The deciding factor of any situation, suspected or confirmed is going to be your reaction to it. Because the nature of addiction is to harbor shame for the addictive behavior, make sure you are able to step back and take a time out to think through your approach.

What to do (and not do) when your child may be viewing pornography.

One of the best ways to get in front of the eight ball is to culture a transparent relationship with your child from an early age. By addressing any issues you as a parent or caregiver have had in the past you can properly address porn viewing from a perspective of healing. However, if you’re here looking for information, this may be a step to start such a culture now. Remember “now” is not too late.

As stated, take a deep breath and think.  Any kind of attacking behavior is going to push the activity into hiding and quite possibly make it worse.  Avoid asking “Why would you do this?” or “How could you?” Obviously hurtful name calling such as “pervert” “sicko” or “disgusting” will only heap on the guilt and shame that comes from teens viewing pornography brings.

Address the topic from a relational point. By relating to your teen with conversation starters such as “When I was your age, I had questions about things like this too”, you can open up a dialogue in order to gain a better outlook. Was the child confronted with the porn in the first place? Are they being pressured by peers to view porn? Did they learn about it through natural curiosity?

When bringing up a sensitive topic as porn viewing you need to position yourself as the safe person to come to. We can do this perhaps by admitting that there may have been struggles with explicit material in your past as well. Asking more questions such as “Help me understand how this happened” can create a conversation where your child can open up.

Avoid overbearing punishment. By nature, punishment is punitive, where consequences are from love and discipline. Concentrate on encouraging conversation aimed at “journeying out this thing” with them.

What do I do now?

Depending on the age of the child your consequences may look different. If the child is very young, there needs to be a type of executive decision. If your children have access to smartphones, consider switching to a flip phone. Removing any devices from their room to a family area where the screen is easily monitored, installing filters for words and specific sites is also helpful. There are even means and settings for your home network to make all web-browsing family-safe.


If your child is older try to avoid smothering behavior by over-monitoring and analyzing everything. This will result in avoiding you and create distrust, causing the sneaky behaviors to continue.


Older children that have long term habits or deeper addictions may need additional measures in place to help break the cycle. At Lifeline For Youth, we help deal with the roots of the problem, which can often be loneliness, sadness, depression, frustration or boredom. By addressing these underlying issues, rather than the outcomes alone, the chances of healing are much more successful.


When having a professionally trained counselor help you the parent and the child identify triggers and temptations, together we can strategize and establish a course of action with proper guardrails to begin rekindling a healthy perspective.


With time and effort, pornography addictions can be overcome. If you have questions or need directions feel free to give the medical professionals at Lifeline For Youth a call today. Together there is hope. 

Treatment for teen depression includes and depends on a support system that will teach your child how to overcome and prevent thinking that could lead to relapses. At Lifeline for Youth, we have a 97% satisfaction rate with our teens and their families.

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By LifeLine

Pornography Addiction in Teens

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:

Reducing Shame

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.

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