In 2017, with a simple touch of the screen or tap of a key the world is witnessed some 28.5 billion visitors to 1 porn site! Which turns out to be an average of 81 million people per day! With 24.7 billion searches performed on the site this year, there was clearly a lot to find, as this also translates to about 50,000 searches per minute and 800 searches per second. This is also incidentally the same number of hamburgers that McDonalds sells every second, which has nil to do with us but somehow makes the numbers easier to digest? The U.S. was the biggest consumer of porn in the world, with 221 page views per person, beating 2015's 191 views per American. Yes, remember the Internet loves to collect data.
“Touchy-screen” Subject: What Now? Our Children and Porn
Your child is lost in the Internet. It started innocently enough with a way to make dinner or have a minute to take a deep breath. Before you knew it… They are screaming at you if you take it away. It now has become their security blanket, and then it happens—anywhere between the ripe old age of 7 to 10 years old they stumble upon some graphic material that 7 to 10 year olds shouldn’t be seeing. Now what do you say?
Here at are five ideas to consider if anyone is affected by a pornography habit. These ideas are especially helpful in talking with young children and can be used all the way up to late teenagers [Including your partners!]
Explain why pornography is problematic -In the age of virtual reality and gaming systems it is our job as parents to help support the youth in developing “real live” interactions with other things we call humans. This is exceptionally important when it comes to teaching the ideas of romance, relationship, and intimacy.
Teach them about the misunderstanding of pornography -This is important for both young men and women. It has been proven with the “Insta” lifestyle and “Phony” Facebook world our society is creating. What is shown is really not the truth about the entire Instagram picture or Facebook post. It’s the same when it comes to the presentation of pornography. A great deal is organized to make it look like it is something it is not. There is never a dull moment to educate one another of the truth.
Normalize it and talk in positive terms -As a sex positive professional and person it is extremely important to honor the idea of sex and what the curious young people think about sex. There might be an innate shame or guilt around the idea of any sexual act. It could be easy to say NO, BAD! Challenge yourself and your family to look at it as a long-term exploration about not only sex but relationships, respect and above all else healthy sexual consent!
Personally stay neutral –Sex is a charged conversation. Above all else it carries even more weight when it is affecting your household. It just doesn’t help to freak out or lose it. It is the same thing I would tell clients concerned with drugs, alcohol or any other developmental inquiry. Use it as a way to learn about yourself as well as a way to seek understanding about how your loved ones see things. It can be alarming to learn your young child has a relationship with pornography. And now more then ever is the time to explore sex positive, fully consensual conversations around not just sex but developing an emotionally intelligent child.
Be open to questions and set boundaries –It is no time to tiptoe around a conversation. There is no better time to open it up to questions and let them also share how they see it. Let your children and loved ones know that you can appreciate their experiences. Ask questions. Is there anything that is confusing? Was there anything that scared you? Remember this part is the “touchy” part, and remember this is traditionally new to them. When it is all said a done no matter if this is your 7-year-old child or 55-year-old partner boundaries are necessary. Creating both expectations and guidelines are important.
Remember children are amazing at observing and often times awful at interpreting things. (Insert but my kid is different.) Umm???
Never hesitate to invite dialogue, questions and above all else be accessible to them as a loving support in this crazy thing we call life.
Dr. Ryan Westrum is a mental health professional that specializes in pornography addiction, sexual addiction and sexual education. For a complementary consultation email him at email@example.com call him at 952-261-5269.