Understanding Your Teen's Pornography Addiction: Help For Confused Parents
According to Covenant Eyes, approximately 68 percent of teen and young men and 18 percent of teen and young women watch pornography at least one time each week. If you are concerned your teenager is suffering with an addiction to pornography, you might not understand what this really means and how to confront your teens about this common issue. Here is some valuable information to help you put an end to your teen's pornography addiction:
Why Is Pornography Addiction Dangerous?
Teenagers are curious about sex, intimacy, and their sexuality, which is likely why your child started experimenting with pornography in the first place. Watching pornography once while leading a normal, productive life isn't a problem that needs professional attention. However, when your child slips into an unhealthy addiction, it can become a serious problem.
Not only can pornography addiction cause a serious disruption to your teenager's life, but it can also give them unhealthy, unrealistic expectations of adult sex and intimacy. An unexperienced teen can become easily confused by the images they see and might assume that the acts they are witnessing on the web or television are what they can expect in their adult life.
In addition to this danger, your teenager might eventually become disinterested and dissatisfied with simply watching pornography and might try to seek out someone in the "real" world. This can lead your teen to meet individuals who are more experienced and who can lure your teen into a potentially dangerous situation.
The Warning Signs of Pornography Addiction
Teenagers are very technologically-savvy, and simply keeping an eye on their internet browser history isn't always enough. In addition to monitoring your teen's activity on the internet, there are other tell-tale signs your child might be suffering with a pornography addiction, including:
Sudden Secrecy and Defensive Attitude – It's not uncommon for your teenager to be secretive. However, when it becomes excessive and if your teenager becomes extremely defensive about their computer and their privacy, it could be a sign they are suffering from a pornography addiction.
Changes in Sleep Patterns – If your teenager is addicted to pornography, they could be spending several hours every night feeding their need for further stimulation. This could lead to a teen who is irritable and begins doing poorly in school. If you notice your child is spending a lot of time in their bedroom at night but still seems tired throughout the day, and it is impacting their performance in school, a pornography addiction could be the problem.
Changes in Social Behavior – Finally, many teenagers with a pornography addiction will begin having an unrealistic view of dating and sex. This can have a serious strain on their relationship with their peers. An addicted teen will often shy away from dating or seeing friends and instead will become isolated.
Getting Your Teen Some Help
If you suspect your teenager is suffering from a pornography addiction, or if you have proof in the form of magazines, films or their internet browser history, talk with your child about your fears. Be prepared for your teenager to be very defensive and deny your allegations. Don't become defensive yourself and, instead, tell your teenager that you will provide them with help and a new set of rules to help put an end to their addiction.
Begin by restricting their access to the internet, which is the easiest way for your child to view pornography. This could mean putting a password on your Wi-Fi, or you could take away their electronics. This is the first step, but because this is an addiction, you will need to seek professional help. Working with a licensed addiction counselor is the best way for you to help put an end to your teenager's pornography addiction.
Addiction to pornography is a growing problem with both adults and teenagers. If your teen is struggling with an addiction, don't wait and instead, contact a counselor, such as those at Lifeline, to learn what you can do to help.