15 Apr Pornography and Kids
In this modern day and technologically-advanced Internet age, vast amounts of information are readily available to anyone who goes looking for them – with children and pornography serving as no exception. Though legal, pornography can have a significant and lasting impact on the quickly developing brain of an impressionable child. Exposure to sexually explicit material presents numerous threats and dangers to all kids – both young boys and girls.
Stumbling across graphic pornography by accident can be an incredibly distressing and upsetting experience for kids – especially since they are not expecting to see it, nor are they developmentally prepared for it. This confronting and complex set of stimuli is incredibly difficult for such an underdeveloped mind to properly process: at such early ages, 8 and 9-year-old children are far from possessing the necessary cognitive and emotional capacities to fully understand the particular information presented to them.
However, children at a young age are also incredibly inquisitive – their instinctive curiosity can lead them to find out more about human sexuality, often through the Internet. There, they can then be exposed to potentially harmful sexual material and scenarios. Pornography – as a maladaptive teacher – can severely and negatively influence kids’ future attitudes, expectations, and values towards safe sexual practices, healthy sexual relationships, and their sexual partners, as well as to issues regarding trust and consent.
Exposure to pornography can also lead to the untimely sexualisation of a child, increasing their chances of engaging in unsafe sexual experimentation – serious health risks such as infections, diseases, abuse, and exploitation can follow. This can also instigate problematic sexual behaviour against others – including children – as the child attempts to grapple with the sudden emergence of complicated emotions and thoughts. These unresolved issues can persist well into adulthood, hindering optimal psychosocial and sexual development, with serious consequences for future relationships.
Parents have a number of options available to them when it comes to dealing with their children and pornography in an adaptive manner – however, communication is of vital importance. It’s important to listen to your child and provide emotional support, especially during sensitive times: show them you care by giving them your time in a space that’s free of shame, judgement and rejection.
Being actively involved in your child’s life during those important developmental stages means you can supervise them, making sure they stay protected while simultaneously fostering positive social and sexual development through an open and honest dialogue. By discussing issues such as the various types of interpersonal relationships and boundaries; rights and responsibilities; and the associated health risks regarding sexual behaviour, parents can ensure their child is kept safe and adequately informed.