According to a survey conducted by Wolak in 2007, exposure to pornography is estimated at 66% for males age 12-14. Equally disturbing is that some of the Internet exposure was not intentionally sought after. More than one fourth (28%) of Internet users aged 10 – 17 said they had experienced unwanted exposure to online pornography in the previous year. So while your child may not intentionally go looking for this type of content, chances are that it will find them.
BUT, is it really that big of a deal? It's a big enough deal that Pornography has been termed, "The New Drug." While it may seem excessive to equate Pornography to something as dangerous as drugs, research shows that it affects the brain in much the same way that Cocaine does.From the website Fight the New Drug: we can gain insight as to the how Pornography creates a similar reaction in the brain to Cocaine.
Here’s a crash course in how the brain works. Deep inside your brain, there’s something called a “reward pathway.” The way it rewards you is by releasing chemicals in your brain—mainly one called dopamine, but also others like oxytocin.
Normally, these chemicals are really handy. They help us feel pleasure and to bond with other people, and they motivate us to come back to important activities that make us happy. The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked. The way substances like cocaine and opioids make users feel high is by triggering the reward pathway to release high levels of dopamine without making the user do any of the work to earn it.
Want to guess what else does that? PORNOGRAPHY. And that surge of dopamine is causing more than just feelings. As it goes pulsing through the brain, dopamine helps to create new brain pathways that essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release.
The more a drug user hits up or a porn user looks at porn, the more those pathways get wired into the brain, making it easier and easier for the person to turn back to using, whether they want to or not.Got your attention yet? Clearly we would go to any length to keep our children safe from drugs but are we as vigilant in our efforts to keep our children away from the harmful, damaging effects of pornography? This sexually explicit material is readily accessible on practically any device now days. We need to dedicate the same effort to ensure that safeguards have been put in place to protect our children in this regard as we do in providing for their physical well being!
Generation M^2 Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. January 2010 Issue