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What do you get when you mix parents who work full-time, unmonitored Internet use and a never-ending supply of pornography? A new generation of teenagers addicted to sex. Or at least that’s what several new studies are saying. Sex addiction therapist and author Paula Hall made headlines last month with a survey she conducted with counseling organization Relate found that 40 percent of teenagers had used pornography before the age of 12 and 90 percent felt it was to blame for their addiction. Hall’s research also suggests that factors such as parental separation, single-sex schooling, and limited sex education are all contributing factors. And nearly half of those surveyed had experienced some kind of childhood trauma like abuse or assault, indicating this to be a major cause of the condition. Survey results aside,  conventional wisdom says that its natural for teens to be exploring porn, sex, and masturbation. So when does a natural curiosity about sex become an addiction for teenagers and how can parents help kids struggling with this problem? Hall writes:

The reality of the Western world today is that ‘opportunity’ is everywhere and people, with or without a background of trauma and/or attachment difficulties, can now indulge their sexual desires and run the risk of becoming addicted

While we’re inclined to agree, let’s be clear: the thumbing through of a pornographic magazine or the casual viewing of an x-rated video isn’t going to instantly turn your child into a porn addict. Looking at porn is bound to happen with kids and there is little or nothing parents can do to prevent it. A healthy and ongoing dialogue between parents and kids about sex which includes a discussion about masturbation and pornography is the best way to develop healthy sexual behaviors in teenagers. But it should be noted that pornography impacts the brain’s pleasure centers changing the way one experiences craving and processes pleasure signals. Because adolescent brains are not yet fully developed, the changes that consistent and regular exposure to pornography stimulates in the brain sets teens up for greater risk of significant addictions and problems throughout their lives. Regular exposure to pornography has the potential to create a distorted view of love, sex, and relationships in the teenagers’ mind. Porn addiction in teens can cause feelings of low self-worth, shame,  social isolation, and inadequacy. Compulsive sexual behavior, loss of connection and inability to form healthy relationships are a few of the problems teenagers can experience if their sex/porn addiction progresses. Parenting in these technologically advanced times is no easy task and protecting our kids against every Internet evil is virtually impossible. Yet we’ve found teens with serious problems with sex and pornography who have parents who are proactive and vigilant have a better chance of recovery. Addiction is a family problem and therefore it takes a commitment to wellness from the entire family. In the end, denying your child has a problem with sex addiction does more harm than good. Getting a teen help as soon as possible can truly prevent an addiction from getting out of control and causing more damage.

  • Category: NewsPornography AddictionSex AddictionTeens
  • By Development Account
  • January 28, 2013

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