If you had to guess the average age a child first sees pornography what would you guess? According to Culture Reframed, a health promotion dedicated to solving the pornography addiction crisis, the average age a child sees porn for the first time is eleven. Furthermore, 94% of all children will see porn by the time they hit their fourteenth birthday.
These statistics are staggering and troubling to most. But the startling numbers do not stop there.
David Paisley, a twenty-nine-year-old former porn addict, stated he was 11 or 12 when he saw porn for the first time.
“I might have snuck pictures from a catalog before, but when the internet came … then I could get anything I wanted. It got really bad in high school, it was a free-for-all,” he said.
Paisley continued, detailing his battle with porn.
“When I got my first laptop, my mom would wonder why I was so tired. I would stay up 3 to 4 a.m. viewing pornography, get a few hours of sleep, go to school, come home and watch more porn through the night,” he said. “At that age, you’re so overstimulated by it that you don’t know what to do with it. It’s not something you’ve experienced before. The only way I can think about it is an addiction, desperate for that fix; when I should have been out developing skills, playing sports, reading books, I was absorbed in pornography for hours and hours, days at a time.”
Jared Brock, a documentary filmmaker, stated he was exposed to porn for the first time when he was only ten years old.
Brock was the co-director of the documentary “Over 18,” that addressed the porn epidemic currently amassing the world. In the documentary, he explores the effects porn has on young people, and he argues for implementation of age verification on porn sites. One country, the united kingdom, has plans to add age verification by the end of 2018. If porn sites fail to verify ages, then they face consequences including hundreds of thousands of dollars per incident.
“Wouldn’t it be nice for this next generation of kids, if they just simply didn’t have access to (porn), so that when they Google “chicks” or “Hawaii” or “girls” or “sisters” or “stepmoms” — they’re not going to find crazy, violent sexual imagery?” Brock asked. “This is a child-protection issue. We want to protect our kids, so we don’t have a generation growing up objectifying women, treating the opposite gender like sexual objects and boys being treated like they’re animals — like they can’t control their sex drives.”
But What Are The Effects Of Porn?
Over the years many studies have been detailing the negative effects porn has on young males. In 2017, Gary Wilson, author of “Your Brain on Porn,” wrote that porn has links to depression and erectile dysfunction. Not only is there a physical toll on the young male’s body, but it also takes a toll on their emotional health.
“The intense stimulation of today’s porn hijacks and rewires ‘brain real estate’ that would otherwise be devoted to making social ties rewarding,” Wilson writes. “Real people become less rewarding; fake people become far more enticing.”
This endangers the young males when it comes to real life intimate relationships. If they are used to being attracted to fake people behind the screen, then they might have issues being attracted to real life, naturally flawed human beings.
“The younger boys get to porn, the less capacity they have for empathy for girls and women, the more likely they are to become sexual offenders, the less capacity they have to actually put the building blocks of adult life into place,” she said. “They are more interested in hookups than actual dating, so the question becomes: If you’re socializing a whole generation into porn sex, which is what we’re doing because porn is the major form of sex education today, then what kinds of fathers, partners, lawyers, judges, policemen are they going to be when they’ve had their capacity for intimacy, connections and relationships hijacked by the porn culture?”
Like Brock, Dines thinks it is important to implement meaningful age verification on all porn sites. Her education site “Culture Reframed,” offers multiple programs for parents exposing them to the unknown damage that porn can do to a male, especially during their growing years. Her site also offers many resources on how parents can talk to their young children about porn and the hypersexualization seen in society. She’s an advocate for more talking, and less ignoring simply because you feel uncomfortable about the subject. She encourages parents to address the topic at a young age before the kids are exposed to it.
“It’s the same as pollution. A parent can’t say to me: How do I stop my kid from breathing polluted air? I can’t stop the kid from breathing polluted air. You need a movement that stops pollution. It’s the same with this. We live in a toxic culture. … We have to have a massive cultural shift. You can do all you want at home to protect your kid, but what happens if everyone around him is using porn? (Pornographers) are hijacking kids’ normal interest in sexuality,” Dines said. “What’s not normal is for kids to start looking at porn as their major form of sex education — that derails healthy development. We’re going to have to adult up here. We cannot leave it to the kids to live in this toxic culture. We created this, and its our job to help change this.”
Dina, along with Brock and Wilson, point out that it is the job of parents to shift the culture from thinking porn is perfectly normal and harmless, to expose it for what it really is: harmful and destructive.