Teen Porn Use Linked With Mental Health Problems

Teen Porn Use Linked With Mental Health Problems

Researchers have found a link between accessing porn at a younger age and suffering from mental health problems.

The study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health surveyed 941 participants aged 15-29 to determine how access to pornography was affecting this demographic.

Teen Porn Use Linked With Mental Health Problems

The study states: “A key public health concern regarding trends in pornography exposure is that pornography may affect the sexual socialisation of young people by influencing their understanding of which sexual behaviours and attitudes are normative, acceptable and rewarding.”

The study found that boys were viewing porn for the first time at age 13. For girls, first exposure was typically around age 16.

All of the male participants had viewed pornography and most of the female participants had seen it as well.

Greater Access To Porn In Recent Decades

This is a relatively new phenomenon, with this generation being the first to grow up with easy access to pornography from such a young age. Experts fear this could affect young people’s understanding of sex and relationships.

Pornography has changed in recent years. The availability of pornography online has led to an increase in extreme pornography with many clips including violence against women, anal sex and nonconsensual sex.

Many schools are failing to provide sex education that counters and addresses the effects of pornography exposure.

For many young people, the sex education lessons at school come too late, with lessons given to older students who may already have been been frequently exposed to pornography. Of the young men who completed the survey, 80% said they watched pornography every week.

What Does This Mean For Teens?

The study found a link between frequent exposure to pornography and mental health issues, though the study did not determine why this was.

Researchers also concluded young people who don’t identify as heterosexual were more likely to access pornography at a younger age and a higher frequency.

The researchers stated: “The findings of this study have important implications for designing sexuality education. Results suggest that the majority of young people have viewed pornography and that almost all young men are frequently accessing pornography. Therefore, it is vital that pornography is addressed as part of high school sexuality education programs.

“Pornography is first watched from a young age, so age-appropriate educational programs need to be implemented from formative years of high school, if not sooner.

“Such programs should not be heteronormative, as our results show that those identifying as GLBQQ+ watched pornography more frequently and from a younger age.

“It should also not presume that young women will not watch or enjoy pornography. Education programs should address issues such as the prevalence and practice of heterosexual anal sex in the real world as opposed to in pornography.”

Talk To Your Teen About Porn

It is clear pornography is having an impact on how young people learn about sex and, with the worrying content of some online videos, it could be negatively shaping how they view sex and relationships.

It is important to speak to your children about pornography before they see it, which may be sooner than you think.

Children need to understand the sex shown in most pornography videos isn’t really what sex looks like in a loving, healthy relationship.

Have you spoken to your children about pornography? For tips on how to do so, check out our article Porn: The Talk You Must Have With Your Kids.

 

Fiona Peacock CONTRIBUTOR

Fiona Peacock is a writer, researcher and lover of all things to do with pregnancy, birth and motherhood (apart from the lack of sleep). She is a home birth advocate, passionate about gentle parenting and is also really tired.


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