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Teenagers and Porn: The Emotional Toll

by Kevin E. Outland on August 22nd, 2012 in Parents

I was reading a story in the The New York Times titled “Approaching (Carefully) the Subject of Teenagers and Porn”. The title certainly caught my attention. The content was, well, interesting. In regards to porn one question that was addressed was, “What is wrong with leaving your kids alone to find their own way (with the help of their friends) through adolescence?”. In other words what is wrong with letting your teen look at whatever porn that may come across? The article seemed to suggest that their friends will help them through it. “Really?”, I thought, “More than likely their friends will help them find more porn sites.” The article’s take on this was, “at least some instruction on the legal and emotional risks” is necessary. 

I would agree with their statement except with the word “some”. I would say “a lot of instruction” is needed not just “some instruction”.

Making your teens aware of potential legal issues surrounding porn is a good idea. Sexting has gotten lots of teens in legal trouble since it’s child porn if the picture is of someone under 18. And if your teens get sucked into viewing child porn online they and, potentiallu, you (the parent) can get into all kinds of serious legal issues. So addressing the legal issues with your children is wise. They may not realize that looking at certain types of porn could put them (and maybe you) in jail. 

But that’s not the main reason you should want you teens to avoid porn. It’s the emotional toll they’ll pay. It doesn’t happen in an instant. The damage is slow. Sometimes in won’t manifest itself until years later. They may start taking sexual risks they wouldn’t normally have taken. Unwanted pregnancies and STD’s can be emotionally devastating. Sexually intimacy is an important part of a healthy marriage. All the porn they watched online is not reality. Their expectations will be out of whack, and they won’t find the sexual intimacy that is so important leaving them emotionally unfulfilled.

When our teens have to pay the emotional toll that porn requires, it isn’t only painful for them. It’s painful for us. The price is very high, and it’s paid with pieces of their soul. Parents, a lot of instruction is required to help your teens avoid paying this terrible emotional price. Don’t wait to start instructing and don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. Start instructing them today!

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