5 Reasons Porn Impacts Kids More Than Adults

Dillon’s body feels like it never has before. The video his best friend’s brother showed him opened up a whole new world for Dillon.

As an 8-year-old, Dillon hasn’t been paying attention to girls. He’s still trying to figure out if Santa is real or not. What he just saw feels real.

Every time Dillon goes to this friend’s house he knows what he will see. Dillon feels excited from the way his body responds as well as the thrill of doing something sneaky. He feels guilty too. Somewhere inside he knows he can’t tell his parents. The ingredients for addiction are taking root.

5 Reasons Porn Impacts Kids More Than Adults

Now Dillon looks at all girls differently. He looks at his teachers and women in the mall differently. After a few years of watching porn off and on, he can’t not look at girls differently.

Then puberty hits. The camp fire just became a raging forest fire.

Now that he is 12, Dillon binges on porn regularly. With an iPhone with wifi and no accountability, he’s like a freight train roaring downhill with no brakes. He keeps his parents at a good distance. He’s kept the secret for a few years. Now, it’s daily, and he’s paranoid they will catch him.

His parents say he’s just being a typical teen. Grouchy all the time. Stays up late on his phone. And he becomes a monster if they try to take away his phone.

If this is your child (or you), there is hope. This doesn’t have to be the rest of your child’s life.

Let’s have a closer look at how Dillon got hooked.

Early Exposure

The average age of first exposure to porn has been conservatively reported as 11 or 12 years old. Josh McDowell and others report that it is more likely 8 years old.

An 8-year-old hasn’t hit puberty yet. Their brains aren’t ready to process “sex.” Porn overwhelms their brain and triggers physical responses they don’t know what to do with.

Isolation

The “it feels good, but it’s bad” dynamic starts the process of isolation. Most kids don’t run and tell their parents that they just saw porn.

Fear keeps them quiet–fear of getting in trouble themselves, fear of getting their friends in trouble, and fear of being mocked.

Shame and isolation are cornerstones for addictions.

Brain Development

The “good thinking” part of our brain isn’t fully developed until age 25 (prefrontal cortex). This is where we process goals, morals, values, cause and effect, and learning from past experience.

Everything necessary to scream, “This is a bad idea!” is sorely underdeveloped. To say it is an uphill battle is an understatement.

Dopamine Sensitivity

Dopamine is the “gotta-have-it” chemical in the brain. Eat a food you like–your brain releases dopamine. Go on a roller coaster–dopamine. Your team wins the big game–dopamine.

During adolescence, the brain is 2-4x more sensitive to dopamine. As adults (over the age of 25), if we think something is fun or exciting, kids experience it as, “Totally freaking awesome! Let’s do it 10 more times!”

When something is that exciting and stimulating, it further compromises (ok, it totally fries) the “good thinking brain.”

What bandwidth they do have can be easily overridden with sheer intensity.

Less Affected by Excess

The effects of doing something excessively affect teens a lot less. Staying up all night. Eating too much junk food. Loud music. You name it.

All the physical experiences that prompt us to stop doing something are muted in these teflon-coated, hyperactive, thrill seeking junkies. They don’t feel the speed bumps.

So how do we protect our cerebrally challenged kids?

Connect With Your Kids

Healthy connection with parents, other adults, and friends is an amazing antidote. Not just hanging out, but really sharing life with each other.

Yes, an alien inhabits the body of every child entering adolescence. They feel out of control and have no idea what is going on.

Keep pursuing your child. Ask what is going on. Share what is happening in your life with them.

Ask if their friends look at porn. Let them know that they can tell you anything and you can handle it–that you will love them and not freak out. (So make sure you don’t freak out!)

Monitor Their Devices

Look at their cell phone. Not just their history, but their social media…everything. Be prepared for, “You don’t trust me!”

Resist the urge to have the voice of your parent vomit out of your mouth to put junior in his or her place. Remind them that it is your job as a parent to have an idea what is going on in their world and to protect them even if they don’t want to be protected.

They will thank you for it…after they turn 25.

See how Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability can help you protect your family. 

Help Them Process What They’ve Seen

Even if you don’t find porn on their phone or computer. If your child fights to avoid being exposed to this stuff–they are still exposed to a constant stream of hyper-sexualized images and language daily.

Ask them what it is like to see these movie scenes/commercials, etc. Acknowledge that they can be pretty intriguing. Pretty arousing. Sex gets folks to buy stuff and watch shows.

The biggest rule: no shaming. That doesn’t mean acting like it is no big deal. It means you don’t condemn them or assault their character. Adam Savage from Mythbusters did a great interview about this and shares how he explained porn’s harmfulness to his boys.

Acknowledge the reality that porn is stimulating. That porn is trying to get kids hooked early to keep them for life.

Simply having these, sometimes very awkward, discussions helps your kids process and re-encode how their brain deals with porn. It decreases the shame. They start to realize they don’t have to keep their parents and porn in separate places in their brain. It means they aren’t alone.

If you have a teenager you have come to accept that your child considers you lame and old. Embrace it. And have the awkward conversation–they need it and feel loved by it. They’ll tell you if you let them live ’til age 25.

The post 5 Reasons Porn Impacts Kids More Than Adults appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

 



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