The search for answers in the fight against childhood exposure to pornography has grown more challenging. A 2009 study shows that the number of kids seeking it online is growing higher, while their age is lowering. According to a new study, children as young as seven and under are searching for “porn”.
The Symantec-funded study found that among kids seven and under, the fourth most-sought search term (after YouTube, Google, and Facebook) was “porn.” These kids are actually more curious about porn than their older siblings: for teens, porn was sixth; for tweens, eleventh.
More disturbing, is how “porn” compares with “sex” as a search term. For older boys, “sex” replaces “porn” as fourth-most popular (girls overall seem to care more about Taylor Swift than sex, at least in 2009).
For younger kids, “sex” doesn’t even rank in the top 25. Does this mean that older kids become curious about sex because of previous exposure to porn?
It’s possible. A British Channel Four documentary, Sex Education vs. Porn, interviewed more than 400 teenagers and found that they averaged in excess of 15 minutes of porn viewing per day. The teens admitted they expected sex to be just like porn.
Girls felt pressure to have waxings and surgeries to match the flawless and symmetrical bodies of the naked women they’d seen. Boys expressed a desire to perform the same violent sexual acts depicted in porn and became more concerned with the size of their penis.
Does it get worse than a poor self-image, unrealistic expectations, and the dangers of a propensity to premarital sex? Additional studies have indicated that when children view pornography, it can have serious effects on brain development.
This means as parents we have to stay one step ahead. Remember, even when you think they’re fine…it only takes once. Here are some critical steps necessary to protect your child from pornography.
- Talk to your children from an early age. Don’t allow their first introduction to sex to come from pornography, or a childhood friend’s older sibling. Remember, if you make it shameful or hush, hush, your child will likely have more interest. One of the most exciting things about pornography is the secrecy. Let them know they can talk to you about anything.
- Keep a filter or accountability program on any computer your child has access to, at all times. Keep your family computer out in the open.
- Know whose house your child is playing at. Will they have access to a computer without a filter or an adult present? Who could come in contact with your child while they are away from you?
Click here for complete results of the Symantec study.
This post is by Brittany Glynn. Brittany’s book Dreams (the first to a five book series) is due for release this fall. Brittany is also the PR director for Girls Against Porn and is on the board of Women in Christian Media.