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  • Writer's pictureKerri Isham

A Public Health Issue

What do you think of when you envision your childhood? Long days playing outside, endless things to do and create? Simpler times.

Today, sexualized media (billboards, video games, TV shows, pornography) and lack of parental supervision of children online is robbing young people of their childhood. Kids can no longer just be kids.

So why is this a concern?

On average, kids are using 7.5 hours of media per day

Today, children who use pornography are undergoing an epic shift in how they view sexual relationships and relationships in general.

On average, kids are using 7.5 hours of media per day. The recommended amount is 1-2 hours per day. What are our children accessing online at the click of a mouse? Often, it's pornography.

Research shows that children are incapable of processing pornographic information, but they will store it and will be reminded of the images as they grow older.

The teen brain is at its peak of dopamine production. It is also vulnerable to addiction and permanent rewiring.

What do children learn from pornography?

Children and teens learn a dangerous message from pornography – Sex without responsibility is desirable and acceptable. Because pornography encourages sexual acts without responsibility (lack of condom use, unknown partners, casual sex, group sex), it endangers children’s health (sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy).

In pornography boys learn to objectify women and to see them as a masturbatory tool. If someone is seen as an object, boys may be more susceptible to hurt an “object” than a person. Porn eroticizes the degradation of women.

Pornography leads to insecurity for boys regarding penis size, fear of premature ejaculation, fear of the inability to satisfy their partner, as well as anxiety, shame, loneliness, etc.

For women, pornography robs them of a healthy body image, increases preoccupation with weight, body hair and size and leads to dissatisfaction in intimate relationships.

The negative impact of pornography on kids/teens is unknown by many parents and caregivers. So what can we do?

1. Talk early and talk often

*Talk openly about the hidden negative messages in media, music, fashion, advertising, etc.

*Know about the delivery of the sexual health curriculum at your child/teen’s school. Curriculum is mandated from Kindergarten to Grade 10.

2. Monitor use

*Become aware of what your children are viewing and playing. Today only 30% of children have any rules or supervision at all regarding technology use.

*Set limits on what children are allowed to view (Boomerang, Circle Disney, Mobicip, etc.)

3. Educate yourself

*Attend workshops that will help you to understand trends in youth culture.

*Talk to other parents about how they monitor media use.

*Role-model safe on-line behaviour

Download our free resource Tips for Parents. And for more information or guidance, check out our course Creating a Culture of Childhood Protection in our Shop.

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