Shebah Mmera is a writer, teacher and a blogger. She gives advice to parents on how to parent teens and their older kids.
How Porn Harms Children
Technological advancements have made pornography increasingly accessible to the young generation. The sexting syndrome has now been normalized and perceived positively by teenagers. However, their exposure to pornography has been intensified by social, development, and educational factors. This article seeks to explore how porn harms children.
- · Normalizes sexual violence
Prolonged exposure to violent pornography makes teenagers commit acts of physical and verbal aggression toward their partners. Verbal sexual violence, especially against women, will include demeaning comments and vulgar names, as seen in the prolific adult videos.
The use of objects for penetration, sexual slavery, and gang rape are just some of the sexual violence that comes with watching pornography.
- Promotes sexual coercion and abuse
The teens may continually persuade or pressure others into unwanted sexual activity. The coercion could be achieved through verbal pressure, drugs, or gifts. The teens learn acts such as sexual harassment, blackmail, lies, and use of threats to get sexual satisfaction from their victims. This kind of sexual assault is demeaning and against the law.
Once they become adults, they graduate to use of power imbalance in their job jurisdictions, use of substances, and use of fear and intimidation of their victims. The female gender, in this case, would be the most at risk of these perpetrations causing detrimental emotional effects.
- · Increase risk of addiction
Prolonged exposure to porn increases the chances of addiction. Pornography addiction has several effects on a person. Research reveals that women who use porn hold a higher number of sexual partners while engaging in more body monitoring, encouraging sexual assertiveness and esteem.
Addiction also causes social harm to the viewer, thus promoting abusive and gender values. Porn promotes different sexual orientations, gays and lesbians. While some resort to prostitution and other social promiscuous behaviors.
- · It affects future intimate relationships.
Pornography affects healthy intimate relationships of teens in the future. Teen develops unrealistic expectations for their private partners and relationships. The future partner is expected to engage in porn-like sex and satisfy them, failure to which relationship issues ensue. They expect their intimate relationships to be perfect with no flaws.
- · Hold negative gender attitudes and behavior.
Consuming pornography facilitates the adoption of distorted ideas such as men being dominants while females are sexual objects. This gender stereotyping distorts normative sexual relationships, thus undermining the rights of one’s sexual partner. It normalizes the degradation and subordination of women to men, who are seen as inferior and made subjects of sexual acts.
It promotes gender roles where men are seen as in control while women are the submissive ones. Women are to bow to men and agree to their men’s push-ups irrespective of how adversely they may affect their partner.
- · Healthy risks
They develop sexual habits that risk their health when engaging in unprotected sex. Once your child starts experimentation, they are exposed to myriads of sexual diseases at an early age. The effects of conditions are not just on the individual but on the family, community, and the whole country.
If your child sees porn, what should you do?
- · Talk about it
Encourage open conversations with your child. Give them support and show them that you are their shoulder to lean on in their porn struggles. Communicate to them in a parental tone to help them understand that porn harms and its addiction has adverse effects on their future relationships.
- · Affirm your love.
Show them you still love them even in the face of adversities. Love is a powerful weapon that will make them open up and thirst for help. Once they open up, do not scold or use mere words to calm their confused minds. Please take action to help them quit the behavior.
- · Set boundaries on technology use.
Limit their access to technology, whether in the house, at school, or with friends. Stick to basic rules such as no gadgets in their bedrooms, bathrooms, or at odd times. Help them understand that the devices can only be used when people are around them or at specific times of the day. Set parental controls.
· Label behavior, do not label child.
Labeling the child damages the child’s esteem and holds them back. Labeling affects how the child sees him or herself and promotes negative stereotypes. Do not use labels such as pervert, torturous, useless, liar, obscene, etc., to label the child as if the traits are who they are just because you caught them watching porn. Instead, as a parent, provide an alternative positive reinforcement system to the upcoming behavior.
· Do not ignore the problem.
Often resorting to pornography could be a result of an underlying issue. Talk to your teen to discover the underlying issue affecting them. It could be due to pressure, stress, or drug abuse.
Assuming the problem could lead to addiction and other myriad adverse effects.
- · Employ filtering software.
One way to safeguard children against technological misuse is filtering software on computers, laptops, smart televisions, and mobile phones. The software will help the parent monitor the social media activity, access every website your family visits, set restrictions, and block inappropriate content. They give you complete parental control and, with robust cyber security, ensure that your kids are safe online.
Pornography affects a child’s mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health. Their minds become perverted and have little room to think and make effective decisions about their future relationships. Talking to them, setting rules, and limiting access to technology will reduce the exposure to such content. Prayers can also be a vital part of healing. If it all fails, seeking professional guidance could be the next step to helping a child involved in porn.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Shebah Mmera