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Teenagers and Porn, Is It Really a Bad Thing?

With more religious leaders and educators saying material depicting the body or sexual conduct to arouse sexual feelings is harmful, parents have much pondering to do about this topic and what standards to impose on their children.

In talking with a mom of a teenager, she said that despite the filter on the family computer, she discovered that her son was cruising porn sites on the Internet.

I spoke to other friends with teenagers and soon realized that this isn’t just something that you read about in parenting magazines—it happens in the best of families. 

I thought about my boys. Would they do this if they had the chance? Had they already been exposed to it? We also have a filter on our family computer, but the Internet can be accessed through my computer, my husband’s computer, and now our mobile phones. 

I had to be honest. Would my kids do this? Probably. Have they done it? Maybe. Chances are, every teen will be exposed to porn in one way or another by the time they get to high school or before they graduate.

So I looked up articles about teens and porn. I was cautious when I did my search. I typed in the search terms, hit the return and held my breath to see what popped up. Phew! Just articles, no scary pictures.

The articles are mixed. From adults being busted by their children for having porn on their computers, to psychologists saying it satisfies a natural curiosity, to people who thought that their children should be sent away to boarding schools. 

This got me thinking—is this curiosity really so bad? Is Internet porn this generation’s version of going down to the corner liquor store or barber shop and stealing peeks at the adult magazines?

Somehow we’ve become accustomed to, and approving of, video games that make murder, violence, blood, and gore seem normal. But none of those things are part of normal everyday life—nor of becoming a normal adult in most places.

Nudity, and curiosity about the sex are normal, healthy, and a part of adolescence. But the question that's pressing in the minds of most parents with young men and women is: Teenagers and porn, is it really a bad thing?

Thank you for last week's very important and timely Moms Talk question, "How have you educated your children about 9/11"

Here is what some of our readers had to say:

the author responded "i don't know" when one of her children asked why the 9/11 attacks took place. its been ten years, we need to move past the glib self-induced myth that dark-skinned muslims just woke up one day and decided they couldn't stand the fact that we can vote and wear revealing clothes.

everywhere around the world, children receive stark and brutal lessons in geopolitics. its time our kids stopped being an exception to this. if we want to stop repeating painful errors, we need to start evaluating our world factually. don't people ever wonder why the US is even hip-deep in the mideast? OIL. we love paying less for gas than anyone else in the industrialized world, so we might as well come to grip with the implications.

since ww2, all the industrialized nations understood cheap oil would be the key to economic growth. in 1953 the US went on the offensive and orchestrated the coup of the *elected* leader of iran, who had the temerity to want to distribute oil profits among his citizens. its been downhill ever since, and we've bankrolled and supported anyone who will keep the oil flowing, regardless of how despotic or dictatorial. its been back and forth ever since.

indeed, osama bin laden published a document explaining exactly why he attacked us on 9/11: our support of repressive arab regimes, our soldiers in saudi arabia, and our support of israel.

Hi Dyan, thank you for this very important question. Even though the anniversary of 9/11 has passed, we should be talking about how the CDE still lacks formal curriculum on this. It's such a shame because without it being discussed in the classroom, children are left with wrong information about the attacks. I fear this is reason No. 1 why there are so many stereotypes against Muslims. It's time the CDE take action on this. Thanks again for contributing to our Moms Council and helping bring up a topic that not only parents, but teachers are concerned about.

Please visit and 's blog at:

http://www.laughingattheground.com/

Luke Gilkerson October 05, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Commercial pornography is truly a rotten influence in our culture. I personally don't know any parent that wants their child's sexual beliefs shaped by mainstream porn. I don't know any parent that wants their child to enter adulthood with "porn standard" expectations for their romantic relationships. I don't know any parent who wants their child to treat sex like a commodity, something on-tap and made-to-order. Look at some of the top-selling mainstream adult material. One study found that, on average, in every sex scene there is act of physical or verbal aggression every minute and a half. Is this the kind of sex education we want our kids to have? If this were merely fringe material, that would be one thing. But this type of material is available online for free to any kid willing to lie about their age. I want my sons to grow up savoring the intimacy experienced in sex, not fed on a diet of commercialized porn. I want them to hear from my own mouth that the real problem with sexualized media isn’t that it shows us too much sex, but that it doesn't show us enough—that is, watching it cannot possibly give us an experience of sexual intimacy. Porn treats sex one-dimensionally, packages it in pixels, and rips it from its relational context. It only titillates us with images of sex but cannot offer the experience of closeness with another person.
Destiny Martinez May 10, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Ok. Im only a 13 yr old and im serching this for my friend cuz shes doing a class project thing on porn and teens. Honestly after reading all your comments.... Porn isnt bad. Nor is it good. No it doesnt help the brain. Nor does it help the body. But porn is just another type of strip club on a computer. I mean if one day we are all going to have sex, why not learn about it? Im going to be honest iv watched one video ever... I dont find it bad. If you watch how they do it maybe youll know how to do it. You get it? And porn is just plain sex... Thats all it is. Sex. Nothing more nothing less. And its not like it messes up ur brain right? So this is just my opinion. Im only 13 so i might not know most stuff than u adults do.
Hunter Symington May 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
From a high school teenagers perspective I am 50/50 on this whole deal, from I have read a lot of parents are very concerned about this daunting issue that we face in our modern society and as time keeps going more and more children aged 12 and up are looking at pornographic material. Children at a younger age who have religious values are more likely to have parents tell them that it "makes god cry" or something along the lines of that. I do believe that it is parents job to educate their children on what is right and wrong in porn, I mean is porn really that bad, the modern educated child who has been educated on pornography will know that commercialized porn is not really how you go about having sex. Both Catholic & Public schools from experience lack proper education on sex, they usually will just who you the body parts and at the odd time show you how to use a condom (excludes catholic). Another issue that parents have from what I have read and experienced is children discovering different genres of pornography, namely gay porn. A lot of parents are still homophobes and won't have this and will instil values that being homosexual or engaging in homosexual acts is wrong, bad, awful, etc. This is where I believe parents are biased and do not provide a proper education to children. Being gay is okay, you just truly need to know that if you want to go one step further that engaging is these acts are more risky than the status-quo normal sex.
Joe M June 25, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I'd like to say that just because something exists, it doesn't mean it must be accessible by all. There seems to be a lot of emphasis put on "porn" and the effects it may or may not have. I was taught to look for the true source of a problem to get rid of it. If you had cancer in your whole body, and didn't know it. But suddenly your arm turns black. Do you cut it off and forget about it? Or do you look for what caused the problem? I don't think there are enough people taking the porn problem serious. But I myself do not call it a porn problem. I call it an Internet problem. I remember when the Internet became popular in the mid-late 90s. Although, there were still millions who didn't discover it until years later. As the Internet became "the place to be for all", suddenly there was an explosion that covered the entire planet. When the smoke cleared the world seemed to have changed dramatically. Many ideologies that had ruled societies for centuries suddenly faded. Now we have entered a point in time where it's more important to be "well dressed" and to Hell with inner values. It's every man for himself. We have suddenly forsaken our ultimate responsibility that has been handed down through time. All for the sake of self fulfillment. The get rid of the porn problem, you go to the source. When you find the source, you will notice it is causing a large number of other problems as well. The problem is the Internet. It isn't regulated. OPENDNS fixes that.
Kamen October 26, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Im a 13 year old aswell and i watch porn most nights and masterbate so do most people at school but in my opinion im quite mature and know how adult relationships work and i only use porn to arouse myself and have a wank on a night im not sure if this is bad ???

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