Help! My teen has been exposed to pornography, what do I need to know?
I am heart broken to bring you this blog, but the elephant in the room is trampling the family as we know it and destroying what most people hold dearest, relational intimacy.
“A new poll released by Netmums revealed shocking statistics on internet use by children. The survey of 825 children aged between seven and 16 and 1,127 adults showed that 16.7% of parents allowed children three years old or younger to go online. However, the most alarming statistics show how exposed and vulnerable children are online. [AUGUST 7, 2013 by TARYN}
- 42.1% of kids admit they have seen online porn.
- One in 16 have been exposed to hardcore pornography.
- One in 12 have exchanged messages with sexual content to other people, while one in 25 have sent graphic photos of themselves.
- 25% of children get away with pretending to be older to get an account online.
- One in 20 children admitted arranging a secret meeting with someone they met online.
- Almost three in 10 parents (29%) let their kids use the internet without any restrictions or supervision.”
There are four primary points I wish to illuminate regarding the impact of pornography on teens and world culture.
1. Pornography as a method is a masterful teacher.
Teachers and presenters often use “visual aids” to connect the material being taught with a “trigger response” to be remembered. Those images are most effective when they also invoke an emotion in the brain of the student. When a student sees a picture of four apples, then a picture of three apples, the teacher may never have to say, “four minus one equals three” because the image speaks for itself.
When an image of an injured animal, a lost child, or a weeping mother, remind us of something significant in our own lives, they “trigger” an emotion. This image and this emotion, the thought or memory and the emotion are inextricably linked. Every time we see that image or one like it, we “feel” the same emotions all over again. When we see four apples, we remember the image of three apples and quickly remember 4-1=3.
2. Images make a lasting impact, even when viewed accidentally.
Most people have what is known as a morbid curiosity. It is what causes traffic to slow down as drivers pass the scene of an accident. They are hoping to see a sight they have never scene, even if the actual sight has a traumatic impact or makes them feel squeamish or nauseous. I know people who cry when they see an animal that has been hit by a car. We recently saw on the news, a young women who put her own life in harms way, trying to rescue an injured opossum on the freeway in Houston, Texas with six million speeding drivers.
She saw an animal trouble, others saw a rodent in traffic. Her reaction was different than mine would have been. The image of that wounded critter likely aroused an emotion that was very intense in her. That earlier event was a learning experience, her reaction was a learned behavior.
The same happens with pornographic images. Short glimpses trigger a significant emotional response. This response becomes linked to the image and soon there is a craving for that emotion or feeling to be experienced again. Additionally, the mind rationalizes, “If it felt like that to SEE it, what would it feel like to DO it? Would the emotions, the feelings be more intense?”
“The arousal may come from excitement, joy, fear, disgust, or sexual tension. We tend to remember any experience we have in those aroused states.” Mary Anne Layden, PhD.
3. Pornographic images reshape beliefs, behavior and acceptance of the unthinkable.
What happens when “what was learned” by viewing pornographic images is morally, legally or relationally reprehensible? When pornographic images are viewed, there is an arousal that teaches the viewer what is acceptable and even desirable. The viewer may see these images by accident, or may seek them out as a habitual search for arousal. Either way, these images inform, teach, train and reinforce the behavior of the viewer.
The rape myth, that women secretly find pleasure in rape, is one belief and behavior that is repeatedly modeled in pornography. Women involved in relationships with users of porn report higher levels violence, higher demand to perform undesired sexual acts and feel like objects more often than their peers whose partners do not use porn.
“The large body of research on pornography reveals that it functions as a teacher of, a permission-giver for, and a trigger of many negative behaviors and attitudes that can severely damage not only the users but many others, including strangers. The damage is seen in men, women, and children, and in both married and single adults. It involves pathological behaviors, illegal behaviors, and some behaviors that are both illegal and pathological. Pornography is an equal opportunity and very lethal toxin.” Mary Anne Layden Phd
4. Social norms are destroyed, taboos are broken, and violence is promoted in pornography.
What most people would consider acceptable, appropriate or loving in an intimate relationship, is often considered outdated, boring or not arousing to the user of porn. The result is a constant search for something new, fresh, more “off the beaten path,” something more deviant. What was once frowned upon, thought of as off limits, out of the question, becomes instead the “holy grail of the sexual relationship” to the user of porn and often a constant fear of their partner.
Here are a few bullet points from a great article about the social costs of pornography by Mary Anne Layden, PhD
- Pornography makes violence sexy.11
- Adolescent boys who read pornographic material were more likely to be involved in active sexual violence.16
- Those who were shown pornography reduced their support for the women’s liberation movement. This is true for both men and women.40
- For males, more pornography use is correlated with more alcohol use and more binge drinking.41
- These studies indicate that the use of pornography, even that which does not include sexual violence, changes beliefs about rape and sexual violence.
But MY kids have never seen that kind of stuff…
Are you certain? Ask them. Most teens who have been exposed and become regular users of teen will deny it quickly and vehemently like any addict. IF they respond this way, take drastic measures immediately to protect them. Remove computers, restrict access to the internet (including the library where porn is considered acceptable), turn off the internet and wi-fi features on their smart phones and if they resist GET HELP NOW. Porn is NOT a problem that will go away on its own. Find a mentor or coach with experience in the area. Your teen’s life and freedom may depend on it. CleanHearts.org offers help for persons of faith.
IF your kids/ teens have not been exposed, they are the exception. The average age of exposure is said to be between seven and eleven years old for boys and twelve to fourteen for girls by most experts and studies. Although most “first exposure” is accidental or peer initiated, the effects are the same. The learning just as profound. The impact to behavior and beliefs just as imminent.
Sadly, in this area, the social acceptance levels of sexual deviance, mommy porn, and sexually explicit movies and CARTOONS and even some sexual education programs in school are working against you as a parent. In this area, more than any other, the old phrase is true, “Parenting isn’t for sissies.” Just consider what is at stake. Take a deep breath and dive in to this conversation like a mother lion defending her cubs.
Source of all footnotes: http://www.socialcostsofpornography.com/Layden_Pornography_and_Violence.pdf
This Blog is a Guest Post from J Loren Norris.
Loren and his wife Karin are mentors for families who are seeking help to find freedom and recovery from the ravages of pornography in their home. Learn more at TransformingGraceOnline.com or connect on Facebook.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you are considering hiring a coach or mentor for your family.
Loren and Karin will be leading breakout sessions Rediscovering Broken Intimacy at THRIVE WC2016. Thrive is a great opportunity to share your experiences with hundreds of women leaders.
Consider Loren to speak at your event: Compassionate, real and humorous, Loren impacts the lives of everyone he meets. He inspires audiences with wisdom, motivation, and hope. His story is transparent and transforming … His life is a refreshing “victim to victor story” … one that will encourage the heart of any audience. Loren frequently reminds audiences, “Regardless of your past; the mistakes you have made and what has been ‘done to you’, how you see you and the attitude you carry through life will determine your future.”
- NCMEC reviewed 22 million images and videos of suspected child sexual abuse imagery in its victim identification program in 2013 — more than a 5000% increase from 2007 (Missing Kids)
- 19% of identified offenders in a survey had images of children younger than 3 years old; 39% younger than 6 years old; and 83% younger than 12 years old. (Missing Kids Testimony)
- The crime is growing: In 2006 U.S. attorneys handled 82.8 percent more child pornography cases than they had in 1994.
- (Missing Kids Key Facts)
- State and local law enforcement agencies involved in Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces reported a 230 percent increase in the number of documented complaints of online enticement of children from 2004 to 2008.(Missing Kids Key Facts)
- It’s important for everyone to talk about child sexual abuse imagery and educate themselves on this important issue. You can learn more by reading more about child sexual abuse imagery facts here:
- – See more at: https://www.wearethorn.org/child-pornography-and-abuse-statistics/#sthash.qivFde0d.dpuf