Trying to prevent teenagers from viewing sexually explicit images is becoming impossible. The various digital gadgets, easy access to pornography online, and the hyper sexuality being displayed on television are all factors that are enabling teen porn addiction and cybersex addiction. These factors are also making it very difficult for teenagers to stay away from pornography and cybersex. But, with guidance from understanding adults and the right therapy program, they can beat their addiction.
The parents of teens addicted to porn can be their children’s first guides; they are the people that a teen will likely reach out to when they are not able to control their addiction. You may get a chance to prevent the addiction altogether if you take the necessary steps when your son or daughter starts questioning you about such matters. The key is to create a safe environment for them to speak out about their curiosities or issues.
You shouldn’t overreact or become critical when your child comes to you with questions about pornography or cybersex. You should also practice the same approach when you discover, on your own, that your child has been looking at sexually explicit materials online or participating in cybersex.
Trying to punish the teenagers for viewing pornography or restricting their privileges without discussion around the issue is not an effective way to prevent porn addiction. Teens will find other ways to gain access to explicit materials. Many teens struggling with pornography addiction have tried to stop and couldn’t on their own. This means that punishing them won’t do the trick; they require help from professionals who are experienced in dealing with such situations.
Aggressive reactions are bad, but ignorance is worst. When you have discovered that your child has porn or cybersex addiction, you need to initiate a discussion with them. Ignoring the issue and filing it under “teenagers will be teenagers” will not help your cause. This addiction won’t go away on its own and teens need guidelines and accountability – along with professional help – to help beat their addiction.
You can contact STAR Guides (800.584.4629) to learn more about how to deal with teen pornography and cybersex addiction. We have a trained professionals available, who can help your son/daughter deal with their addiction and learn to achieve healthy sexuality.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.