Porn and our kids

Porn and our kids

I had a long conversation with a recovered porn addict recently. He told me,

"I was at a friends house when I was nine, and my friend said, watch this. I saw my first porn that day. I wasn't looking for it. My friend showed me how to hide it from my parents. I got hooked, and it took me years to come off of it."

NINE! He was nine years old. I know you cannot imagine your child watching porn but another young teen girl asked me.

"Boys are forcing me to watch when I hang out with them. I feel uncomfortable. How do I deal with this?"

In my workshops with teens porn is an ever-present theme. When I talk to parents, I almost always hear, "My child would NEVER watch porn."

After endless conversations with kids struggling, and after being asked by a young teen how to stop watching without telling his parents, I wrote a letter. Please read the letter I wrote and then remember.

  • Getting devices out of the rooms is essential.

  • Let your kids know they can come to you for help.

  • Talk to your children about sexuality and yes, also about porn.

Dear young porn addict,

Porn addiction is real. I do not want any of you to feel embarrassed or ashamed by the fact that you asked this question, or that you might watch porn. I want you to understand a few things about porn, and so I wrote you a letter to help.

Understanding why you want to watch more porn

Porn is not a realistic depiction of sex or relationships. When watching porn, dopamine (a drug) is released in your brain. This drug is also released during sexual excitement which explains why it released while watching porn. The more time you spend watching porn the more dopamine gets released, which makes you not only want to watch more porn but eventually even need to watch more. On top of the dopamine being released while watching, you will have pleasure which reinforces the cycle and makes it even harder to escape wanting to watch porn and can eventually lead to a porn addiction.

Why should you care

Your tolerance towards sex will eventually change which will result in you having a harder time dealing with the reality of sex in a relationship. You are developing your sexual character, and it is important that you realize porn is an unrealistic depiction of sex. I know I have already said this, but it is crucial to truly grasp this because this change in tolerance might make a normal, healthy relationship boring for you.You will want a real relationship one day, and porn can affect your future relationships and your ability to function if you spend too much time watching it.

There is good news

Your brain works like a muscle. You either use it, or you lose it. If you don't exercise and you sit in a chair all day never exercising you will end up being unfit. If you don't watch porn, you will lose the stimulation, and the desires which are unrealistic and related to porn will simple eventually stop. The earlier you stop watching, the better.  You basically need to avoid watching at all costs. This might seem difficult to a teen who is addicted, but there are a lot of things you can do to help make it easier.

Start by:

1. Being aware that you have a problem.

2. Block porn on your phone and your computer. For this, you should go to your parents or even a school counselor for help. They should help you set this up on your phone, and your computer and they should put a password in for you. It is essential to have an adult choose a password for you and help you set it up. That way, you cannot easily unblock it. You might think this is embarrassing but your parents and school counselors are there to help you and will.

3. If you crave porn and have the urge to watch, do something physical immediately. Go on a jog around campus, play some basketball, anything that gets you moving preferably outside.

4. If the urges are at night and you have a computer or a phone in your room, think of giving it up before you go to bed. That way you will have less temptation.  I really hope you talk to your parents about this. They will help you!

5. Don't give up. Keep a calendar, the old-fashioned paper kind where you write down porn free days.

6. To break a habit... Make a habit. Keep busy, find another hobby, do more sports, replace your time watching porn with something else you enjoy. Find something you are passionate about and start doing it. Again, you can search for this activity with help from the school or your parents.

7. Continue to talk to your parents and the school counselor or a therapist.  They will check in on you and make sure you are staying on track.

Do not beat yourself up over this. It happens to so many people. You are not alone, and the fact that I get so many questions and specifically these question means you are working on it already and that is good.

Remember, your parents are there to help you! Let them know when you have questions about porn or if you are watching too much.

Good luck!

P.S. Moms and Dads, my book, 'Would I have sexted back in the 80s?' will be published in January with loads of helpful stories and hands-on advice to raising your digital teen/child.


–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W., Expat, Mother of three, Wife

Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash