Teens & Porn: How Porn Today is Different Than When We Grew Up

Some might argue that porn has always been around and it's no big deal. The truth is, access to porn and porn addiction have increased significantly since back in the day when we were kids. Growing up, perhaps you had a friend who found their dad’s dirty magazine and you’d have to wait until you were at their house and their parents were away when you both could sneak it out for a quick peak. Nowadays, it’s much easier. The majority of kids have a smartphone and can access it anytime, anywhere.

According to Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain on Porn, an over-consumption of internet porn can result in changes to brain circuitry, addictive use and sexual dysfunction (delayed ejaculation, inability to orgasm during sex and loss of attraction to partners in real life).

But how big of a problem is porn really? When we think of porn addicts, we tend to think of dirty old men, when in reality, the largest group of Internet porn consumers is children aged 12-17 (stats from GuardChild).

Also according to GuardChild, 70% of tweens and teens have accidentally encountered online pornography, often through a web search while doing homework. Sometimes things can start off innocent but they can quickly progress into something not so innocent.

For teens and millennials, porn is arousing and addicting. It teaches them nothing about relationships and creates idealized versions of what people look like.

According to PsychCentral, “the overconsumption of high speed internet images that are constantly novel, always available, and intended to arouse, floods the reward center of the brain with dopamine such that eventually the reward system loses its balance and becomes over-attuned to prefer and eventually need porn in ever increasing doses to attain arousal.”

We all want our teens and millennials to have healthy relationships and respect others. Addiction is never a good thing and a porn addiction can be devastating on a real relationship. If you believe you or your child may be a porn addict, we encourage you to reach out to local support groups. Remember, they’re not alone and they deserve a balanced life with real relationships and true intimacy.