Online pornography is content in images, videos, games, and other forms with sexually explicit content. Children can view these types of content accidentally or intentionally, which can impact child’s brains and change their thoughts about sex, relationships, and their own physical image.
As parents, you must know the impacts and consequences of exposure to sexually explicit content. Exposure to pornographic content can significantly harm the child’s brain. The easy availability of the internet and access to pornographic has led to poor mental health, objectification and sexism, and sexual violence.
You might wonder about the impact of internet pornography, its prevalence, and how to protect your child from them. This article will clear your confusion, so let’s get started!
The prevalence of online pornography
Despite paying attention to the easy accessibility of porn, the rate of pornographic content viewers has been increasing rapidly. According to a report, 90% of children between 12-18 have access to the internet.
Almost half (53%) of 11-16-year-old respondents said they had seen pornography online, an increase from 28% of 11-12-year-olds to 65% of 15-16-year-olds.
Most viewership was among males, 93%, whereas 63% of females viewed explicit content before turning 18. Also, a child’s average age for watching porn is 11 years old.
This statistical analysis totally signifies that the use of smart devices and the internet has increased the accessibility of pornography among children.
Technology has played a vital role in the spread of porn. Online streaming services, pornographic websites, and adult gaming have a large amount of porn that children can access with a few clicks and taps.
Social media platforms have also played a role in spreading pornography through private DMS and other features.
The impact of online pornography on children
Exposure to pornography and its negative effects on children are concerning issues that have been brought to the forefront in recent years. With the prevalence of easy access to explicit content, there are several potential negative impacts on young people exposed to it.
Continue reading to learn the impacts on children caused by online pornography.
1. Negative effects on children’s mental and emotional health
Pornography can destroy children’s and young people’s mental and emotional health. Exposure to sexual content can lead to distorted views of sex, relationships, body image, and intimacy. It also increases the chances of developing depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem growing up.
Pornography increases aggression in some children by normalizing violence against women, reinforcing gender stereotypes, and damaging their development as healthy and responsible adults.
It leads children into pornography addiction and risky attitudes and behaviors such as unprotected sex, which could potentially put them in danger if not addressed properly by parents or guardians.
Sexual molestation, rape, and assault are the potential risks caused by early pornography exposure in children and growing up. They can suffer from ADHD(attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), hostility, aggressive behaviors, lack of self-control, and other mental diseases.
2. Influence on children’s attitudes and beliefs about sex and relationships
Watching porn can shape their understanding of what is acceptable regarding sexual behavior and the roles men and women should play in intimate settings. It exposes an unrealistic representation of sexuality, often involving violence or harassment within relationships.
Children may develop unhealthy expectations regarding their appearance over time if pornography portrays certain physical attributes as idealized standards for attractiveness.
3. Role in the development of addiction and compulsive behaviors
Children who watch pornography are often addicted and have uncontrollable behaviors. Children can be obsessive about porn, have a porn addiction, and become exposed to more extreme forms of pornography over time.
This can lead them to seek more graphic material, which some children find difficult to break free from.
Viewing excessive pornography can lead to other compulsive behaviors, such as cybersex which is harmful to kids. It also can lead to excessive masturbation, which can do further harm if it is left unchecked.
Pornography harms children and can damage their mental and physical health.
Parents should always be cautious about the effects of pornography. Otherwise, it could easily spiral out of control leading your children down a path they never expected nor wanted to go down in the first place.
Protecting children from online pornography
Ensuring child’s internet safety and protecting them from online pornography is every parent’s responsibility. The internet is a vast open space, and your child can be exposed to internet pornography and affected by it. So, to protect your child from getting harmed by the negative effects of sexually explicit content, you can follow the given strategies.
1. Open Communication
Talking to your kids openly about porn and educating them about the negative effects of sexual content found online is the first thing you can do to protect your child.
It can be difficult to start a conversation about pornography with your child. But it is important to talk and share your opinion with your child.
While talking to your child about pornography, you should talk naturally and simply. You should ask them what they already know, share your experiences, and give positive messages. Use a no-blame approach so your child will feel comfortable talking to you.
Teach them about puberty, relationships, sex education, and body image. Explain to them that porn does not signify sex in real life and provide sex education.
Explain to your kids what porn does to your brain, and make them understand the negative effects of online pornography, like addiction, poor problem-solving skills, relationship and mental issues, and other problems.
2. Teach Good Digital Health
Children must be taught good digital health to stay safe online. Parents should discuss the potential risks of viewing pornography, such as exposure to explicit content, sexting, cyberbullying, and/or grooming.
You can teach them to block inappropriate content and website on their smart devices. It is useful for adults and kids to discuss the importance of using strong passwords when accessing websites or applications and not sharing personal information with strangers online.
Creating a healthy digital environment for children of all ages is very important. Teaching kids about responsible internet use without pornography exposure will help ensure their safety while navigating the digital world.
3. Set Parental Controls
Parents can use parental control tools to monitor and control them from being exposed to pornography. Parental controls help to set up filters on the web browsers that will help to block specific websites containing pornographic materials.
This allows users to customize what kind of sites they want to be blocked based on age appropriateness, the language used in the site, etc. so that only appropriate sites are accessible through their browser window.
Parental controls also have keylogger features that allow you to monitor what types of keywords your kids are searching. You can monitor their social media and private messages if they’re accessing porn through DMS.
You should also take advantage of monitoring apps, monitor kids online, and watch child’s online activities, including time spent accessing various sites and search terms used across different platforms.
Parental controls provide detailed information about a child’s digital footprint allowing parents greater visibility into what their kids are doing while surfing the net – providing another layer of protection against potential exposure from inappropriate content.
With monitoring tools, parents can ensure a safer internet experience for their children, free from potentially harmful pornographic content.
Easy access to the internet has impacted the availability of pornography among children, affecting their mental, emotional, and physical health. It is very important to know the effects of inappropriate content on children and protect them from various risks.
Parents, educators, and society must take steps to protect children from the harmful effects of online porn. Addressing social contexts of pornography and the risks, we all should provide children with proper education and awareness.
It is important to create policies restricting access to explicit material on social media platforms and websites to protect children from accidental exposure to explicit material.