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Let’s Talk About Porn: Part 1

Let's Talk About Porn: Part 1

Of all the fears most parents have relating to their kids and technology, pornography is typically at the top of the list.

And who can blame them?

Pornography has heavily saturated our world in the last few decades, especially with smart devices providing unlimited Internet access, 24/7.

A recent study gives us a glimpse into this growth:

In “1998 – 14 million pornography webpages… 2018 – 2.3 billion pornography webpages”

The Porn Phenomenon, josh.org/epidemic

Raking in billions of dollars annually, the porn industry is becoming normalized and socially acceptable. And it’s not going anywhere.

More than four in 10 Americans (43%) now say pornography is morally acceptable, a seven-percentage-point increase from last year.

Gallup, June 2018

As parents, what, if anything, should we do with this knowledge? Here at Be Socially Smart, we believe there is quite a bit we can do to help our families make smart choices in this area.

In this 4-part blog series, we’ll break down what pornography is and how it’s being accessed by our kids. Next, we’ll discuss why many teens are addicted to porn, and how we can help them navigate this issue.

Let’s start by discussing a few important questions…

What is pornography? 

According to oxforddictionaries.com, pornography is printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.

Although there are many types of porn, for the sake of this series we’ll refer to this definition.

It’s also worth noting that one way many teens get around looking at “porn” is by watching movies that are R-rated and above. Typically nudity in “normal” films isn’t considered porn, but to our kids, it can look and feel the same.

Who is the porn industry targeting?

“Every 39 minutes a new pornography video is being created in the United States.”

Webroot, Site Accessed March 21, 2018

These pornographic videos are reaching our kids and the industry profits most from those who get addicted early. Here are a few startling statistics…

(Taken from The Porn Phenomenon, josh.org/epidemic)

  • 47,000,000 porn videos are viewed by 7 to 14-year old kids in the USA every single day.
  • 90% of 8 to16-year-olds have viewed porn.
  • 1/3 of teenagers say all or most of their friends regularly look at porn.

This industry is reaching any and everyone that’s interested. And your child most likely won’t escape adolescence without seeing, viewing, or struggling with pornography.

When does porn viewing usually take place?

“71 percent of teenagers ages thirteen through seventeen come across Internet porn without even looking for it.”

The Porn Phenomenon Study, 2016

As this statistic alludes, your child can find or accidentally stumble on a pornographic image anytime. Whether they’re doing research for a project or scrolling through a social media platform, they could encounter porn.

Typically when someone chooses to look at pornography, they do it in secret. That’s because it’s shameful and often brings about guilt. We’ll dive deeper into this later in our series. But for now, it’s important to note that although some friends may view porn together, it’s usually a private matter.

Purposeful viewing of porn can happen when parents aren’t present, or even around bedtime. It literally can happen at any time, day or night, but it’s mainly done secretly.

How/where are our kids getting porn?

“Nearly two thirds (60%) of children and young people surveyed, who had seen online pornography, reported seeing it for the first time at home, followed by 29% who reported doing so at a friend’s house. In terms of whether this was volitional viewing, with 32% reported that first time they saw it they were alone and it just popped up, 22% reporting that it was shown to them by someone else without them expecting it.”

The Porn Phenomenon, josh.org/epidemic

Several decades ago, it was much more difficult to view pornography. You either had to order a magazine or video my mail or go to an “adult” store. Now you can view porn at the touch of a smartphone, with no waiting.

There are endless options at our fingertips, and no one has to see what we’re doing. No wonder the temptation is high, and addictions are starting at much earlier ages than in the past.

So where are our teens getting access to pornographic material?

Everywhere from at home, in school, or even at sports practice. It’s accessible on their gaming consoles, smartphones, and on their social media accounts. Other avenues are through sexting, Netflix/Hulu or particular tv and movies. Basically, anywhere they can be connected to the Internet is a place of risk.

They can also see porn-like images on ads or website pop-ups, in their spam emails, or accidental search engine results. It’s a challenge to constantly dodge this dangerous material, especially for our kids.

The problem with pornography

“At least one in four teens are receiving sexually explicit texts and emails. At least one in seven are sending sexts. More than one in 10 teens are forwarding these sexts without consent, the study found. And roughly one in 12 teens have had sexts they sent shared without their permission.”

Reuters Health, February 2018 (enough.org)

What’s the big deal? What is the problem with pornography? I know this seems pretty obvious, but we’d like to spell out a few reasons.

Porn dehumanizes and objectifies women. It gives a false expectation of what sex should be and puts unrealistic expectations on girls and their identity. It can also damage and bring baggage into future marriages.

Porn causes addictions, leaving a lifetime of mental images you can’t forget. It can also leave men specifically to struggle with looking at females in the same way.

But perhaps the most rooted problem with pornography? It’s what happens within a person when they look at it… deep shame and guilt to their core.

I think we can all agree pornography is a huge problem that shouldn’t be taken lightly with our kids.


Why do so many of our teens have a porn addiction? If it’s so incredibly dangerous and damaging, why do so many of them crave it? Read Part 2 of this series here, where we’ll dive into the why behind the what…

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