The abuse of drugs and alcohol during adolescence has been an area of concern among parents, teachers and mental health experts for many years. Prevention and treatment efforts are found in virtually every community in the nation and most agree that teen drug abuse is a societal issue that needs continued focus due to its damaging effects.
In recent years, due to the ease of access to pornography and the increased sexualization of our culture, increasing numbers of teens are viewing pornography on a regular basis, and in many cases becoming addicted. Unfortunately, the same level of concern that accompanies teen drug abuse seems to be lacking with the new phenomena of teens and porn. There are a variety of explanations for why there is not more being done including the mistaken belief held by some that “boys will boys” while normalizing the behavior and accepting the idea that it is simply part of adolescent sexuality to be curious and to explore porn. Another is the incorrect idea that it is a moral issue that should be left to parents and churches to deal with rather than viewing it as a developmental issue that impacts a teen’s emotional, psychological, neurological and social development.
According to sociologist Jill Manning, the research indicates pornography consumption is associated with the following six trends:
These trends are of great concern as the ramifications of porn addiction are long-lasting. Too often, we minimize potential problems with teen pornography use and simply hope they will somehow go away on their own. As parents and professionals, we need to be more vigilant to assure that those teens who are struggling with pornography addiction are able to get help in breaking free from the addiction. Failing to do so holds both short-term and long-term damaging consequences for youth. In most cases, individuals addicted to pornography are unable to break the addiction on their own and as outlined above, the potential trends lead to the destruction of future families and the decay of society.
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.