10 tips to prevent your children from becoming addicted to pornography

Expert psychologists launch 10 recommendations to prevent adolescents from becoming addicted to pornography, an industry that has 144 million online platforms with pornographic content, receiving 44 million visits a day. Recent research reveals that 81% of children between 13 and 18 years old say they have observed pornography as normal behavior and 11 years is the average age at which they begin in the pornography consumption.

In light of these figures, how can we prevent our teenagers from becoming addicted to pornography? The most serious problem of pornography is that it creates unreal expectations about sex and stripping it of all affective components, which after a while, can make a dent in the affective-sexual health of people producing various problems. Example of this is one of the most recent research published in The Journal of Sex Research which shows how the consumption of pornography in adolescents is associated with more permissive sexual attitudes, with family problems and with greater gender stereotypes in sexual beliefs.

They also show the relationship between this consumption with an increase in the frequency of casual sex and aggressive behavior in the sexual area.

Adolescent consumer profile of pornography

The prototypical profile of the adolescent consumer of pornography is that of a masculine user, more advanced in adolescence, prone to the search for new sensations, open to new experiences, and with a weak or problematic family structure.

"The professionals that dedicate themselves to the attention of the mental and physical health of the people, we see vitally important the reflection on the pornography and its influence in the development of the sexuality of the young people." If the process of the adolescence does not develop well and the brain does not finish maturing, the tightrope can break and facilitate development an addiction, including pornography. It is an extremely delicate period for their development, where they lack sufficient maturity or critical capacity to distinguish the pornographic from a real sexual relationship ", explain the professionals María Contreras, Psychologist Sexologist and Alejandro Villena, Psychologist, and both experts in this topic.

"A great difficulty that we observe is to engage in conversations with the youngest in family structures, hiding them, avoiding them or turning them into taboo subjects, due to the fear or shame that they may generate, hindering the development of a healthy and integral sexuality. allow adequate knowledge about the organism, emotions, affectivity or pleasure, this is where the pornography It comes into play, becoming the educator or main model of young people for sexual relations and generating various problems, "Contreras continues.

10 tips to avoid addiction to pornography

Because today the vast majority of young people have unlimited access to this material online and start every time before, María Contreras, psychologist and sexologist, and Alejandro Villena psychologist, professionals dedicated to mental health, concerned about the growth of addiction to pornography in minors, they give a series of recommendations for parents in view of the need to include sex education in the family at an early age.

These are the tools that can facilitate dialogue with your children when they have encountered the pornography:

1. Be present and available before it happens, to give place to previous conversations of all kinds in which both parties feel valued, respected and listened to. Leave your fears aside and be available to listen if you need to talk.

2. Help him ask what is beneath those behaviors, put the focus on the reason that leads to it: curiosity, tension, anxiety, boredom, desire to know, need to be included in the group of friends, anger ... so you can jointly search what you need to satisfy that reason with a Healthy behavior that enriches you.

3. Transmit that the secondary goal will be to share your opinion about pornography and why it is a problem, but always love and understanding must be put before it. The goal is to help you understand and decide that behavior is not healthy for him / her.

4. Try not to judge him, Understand how you feel and validate your feelings. Making mistakes is allowed and improving and finding new ways of doing too. Try not to feel inferior, but loved and valued: "whatever you do, I will not leave you." Do not scold him if you discover them in something of this type (the fights at this time is one of the variables associated with sex addiction).

5. Give positive arguments to use other alternatives to pornography, both to know aspects of sexuality (healthy books, conversations with you or an expert, etc.) and to regulate those emotions that facilitate your consumption. Create a safe space in your home, a space where your child can ask freely, with confidence and where he feels loved and respected.

6. Talk about your personal experience or from examples of other people who have gone through similar times. Remember what you lived at your age and from there, help him find the way to health and well-being.

7. Provide stories that make you think. Stories of people, love stories, that's what matters in the background. Allow him to be human, make mistakes and be imperfect and precisely for that, deserving of his love and respect.

8. Show him that what he is telling you is something that can happen. Try to respond with restraint, without panicking with amazement, fear or disgust, but with joy for being able to share that with him and help him not to fall into the clutches of porn.

9. Try to connect with emotions what is showing at that moment: curiosity, worry, challenge, fear ... Ask him what he thinks, what he feels and make it clear that you love him unconditionally.

10. Always answer him. If you do not know how to answer, find out or ask someone who knows more than you. Tell him you do not know, that you are going to study and that you will tell him.

According to Brad Wilcox and Jerrick Robbins, authors of How to hug a hedgehog. 12 keys to connect positively with adolescents point out several important issues to take into account.

- Children and adolescents want information about sexuality and what it means to grow up, but they do not want to admit that they do not know as much as they would like. Talking about sex with children can be embarrassing, but it is important.

- Personal conversations favor the parent / child relationship and allow them to be taught in a sensitive and effective way. Silence, ignorance, open communication often lead to wrong choices by adolescents.

María Contreras. Psychologist Sexologist
Alejandro Villena Psychologist.

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