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Porn is harming our kids

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Porn is harming our kids

“Porn is more difficult to avoid than it is to see” said Maree Crabbe, an expert sex educator for schools. “It’s giving a very distorted view of what sex looks like. Lots of children are seeing porn before they’ve ever had any sexual contact with anyone.” This was one of the many scary quotes shared on February 9 in Sydney, Australia, at a Symposium called Porn Harms Kids. It was the biggest of its kind in the country and brought together many experts from the nation’s fields of children’s sex education, psychology and research.

According to Ms. Crabbe, in the USA alone, 8,000-12,000 porn films are made each year as compared to the 300 that are churned out of Hollywood over the same period. “But it’s not just the quantity of porn films that’s scary,” said Crabbe, “the violence that’s depicted in them takes it to a whole new level.” According to her research throughout those porn films produced:

  • 88% showed physical aggression.

  • 48% showed verbal aggression.

  • 94% showed gagging, choking and slapping.

  • 95% of scenes showed a neutral or positive response towards the aggression. Aka from a man’s perspective, “Women enjoy it when I do this to them.”

Basically, Ms. Crabbe summarised, when our kids come across porn, this is one of the strong messages that’s being sold to them. Women like violent sex, they like to be “..whatevered” hard. In fact, they enjoy it! But as we all know, or should know, this is not case. Porn is feeding a sense of male entitlement to female bodies and it’s teaching our young women that’s what they should expect and that’s what’s normal. This is scary and it’s definitely not normal!

When it came to understanding pornography’s true effects, University researcher Dr. Michael Flood, had plenty to say. “Impacts are not the same for everybody, “ said Flood, “Children of different ages will react differently to porn. It depends on the context of exposure.” His meta analysis of 22 studies involving around 20,000 participants showed consistent evidence of porn users acting out sexual aggression. “But,” he noted, “Porn is not the only risk factor for the perpetration of sexual violence.”

  • The user matters. How do users interpret porn?

  • Content matters. Porn that shows aggression is more harmful than porn that shows no aggression at all. 

  • The form matters. Video porn is more powerful than still images.

Through all of this the message was loud and clear. Children and young people should have comprehensive sex education. We need to educate about the harms. The impact will be less because they know what to dislike about it, rather than seeing it as normal sexual behaviour in a relationship.

And it’s when it goes wrong, which happens more often than not, that things really start to get interesting. Liz Walker, a sex educator from Brisbane, said she was ‘catapulted’ into an awareness of her sexuality after an older girl sat next to her and showed her a pornographic magazine she found under her brother’s bed. “I was curious and I thought ‘why not’, and she put this magazine in front of my face. I was so shocked and disgusted but aroused at the same time. It was very confusing and those images have stuck with me. I started to show very worrying sexual behaviours at a young age. I was seeking out those sexual interactions wherever I could because I thought that’s what women had to do to get noticed.”

For her, seeing porn started a downward spiral of drinking and drugs that landed her in psychiatric wards in her 20’s. Ms.Walker attributes this directly to her early exposure. “There are limitations for education. You cannot educate a child out of trauma,” she said during her presentation. “We need to be starting education much, much earlier. We need to use the right language around our children, aka it’s a penis and a vulva, not a pencil and special place. Doing so allows our kids to have the right language to report abuse.”

But it’s not just the stuff that our kids are seeing when someone shows it to them on the bus that’s causing harm, the online world of smartphones and tablets has brought all of this into our homes, whether we like it or not. “All children who use the Internet will see porn,” said Susan McLean, a former police officer and prominent educator at schools. “Historic protective factors no longer exist. Young and younger children are viewing. Accessibility of extreme violent porn has increased and most parents are oblivious to the facts and the importance of talking about this and educating.”

As Ms. McLean rightly pointed out, because of porn, children are developing a skewed view of normality. They don’t have a reference of the world before it existed on the internet. They are going to use their devices for the good and the not so good. “As parents we don’t let our children roam around at night because of bad people, but we let these people into our children’s bedroom.” We have to ensure that parents are supported to discuss these issues with their children, before exposure. We have to help them be real. Child safety should not have different facets it must be thorough and complete. Schools need to be equipped and they must provide age appropriate sex and relationship education. No excuse. They are most often the next line of defence if the parent cannot or will not make a good decision about their child’s safety.

Bottom line. Porn is harming our kids!

If you are a parent or teacher and want to learn more about safety for your kids, check out our information page for parents.

If you are struggling with porn viewing Guilty Pleasure is here to help. Check out our help page for more information about things you can do to quit porn.

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Share this article with the #IAMRED hashtag so others who might be struggling can start a journey towards quitting porn. Find out what saying #iamred actually means.

 

 

By |2016-10-14T11:11:08+00:00February 29th, 2016|Parents, REDColumn|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jason
Jason Huxley is the founder of Guilty Pleasure. In 2005, having taken his marriage to the point of divorce, Jason was somewhat forced to deal with many issues in his life and started a journey of recovery from porn addiction. From personal experience he knows the incredible guilt and shame that porn addiction creates and the implications it has on relationships and marriages. Both Jason and his wife, Laura, know that freedom from sex and porn addiction will restore people’s lives. They are passionate about educating parents on the traps of pornography, encouraging them to talk about it with their children before it becomes a part of their lives. You can read more of Jason's story right here.

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