Research shows that pornography addiction is as real as any other form of addiction, and children are especially susceptible to its damaging effects.
Children's first exposure releases unnaturally high levels of pleasurable chemicals in the brain. For some, the body grows used to this chemical concoction and continues to seek it out. Repeated porn usage delivers this gratifying chemical hit, time after time. Like a drug, kids can keep coming back for more, sometimes in response to boredom, but very often as a way to cope with the difficulties and uncertainties of life, which—let’s face it— will always exist. As a result, instead of developing healthy coping techniques, some children are becoming tethered to one of the unhealthiest coping strategies there is: addiction.
The porn industry knows all about the vulnerability of minds in general. They know their content is addictive and keep producing harder and more graphic content to keep attracting consumers. Currently in Australia, there's no way to block this content, which is why eChildhood is so intent on seeing Age Verification become a solution so that younger minds aren't so readily impacted.
Our innocent children lack the judgment to avoid pornography’s pull. So what can parents do?
- Access resources and become educated about pornography and the very real harm it causes children.
- Learn what to do to prepare your child for the time he or she will be exposed to pornography. It’s no longer if but when they will come in contact with it.
- Know how to respond without creating shame when they do access porn - it's not a matter of if, but when.
- Access skill-based materials that specifically teaches parents how to work collaboratively with a child whose pornography problem has hit home.
- When it comes to pornography and children, talk early and talk often.
Some people say there’s no hope for children struggling to resist the quicksand of pornography. Don’t believe it. When parents combine the bond they have with their children, with knowledge and skill-based resources, there is clear hope for both prevention and recovery.
Remember this: Although the porn industry is flooding the world with their damaging and life-altering material, they can be beaten. Why is that? Because parents and their children have the most powerful defense of all, and that’s a loving, deep and abiding relationship they can build on. This is something the porn industry will never have.
This blog was authored by Dr. Gail Poyner, an Expert Advisor for eChildhood. Gail is a Psychologist who has extensive experience in treating children who have pornography problems. She recently wrote Closing Pandora’s Box: Empowering Parents to Help Their Children Reject Pornography. We highly recommend this book for parents who are supporting their children to address problem sexualised behaviours and develop healthier patterns, particularly related to addiction.