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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Teens & Porn

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The other day on Ypulse Meredith cited a study (done by CyberSentinel which sells software to block websites and monitor their kid's use of the Internet) reporting that British teens watch an average of 87 hours of porn per year. Hopefully this is not shocking to parents and suggests that there is an important conversation to be had with your teens.

I was not surprised by the number of hours spent watching porn and believe the range would really send some parents screaming into the night. I have taught a university level adolescent sexuality class for years and a favorite research topic is always something along the lines of the impact of porn on sexual relationships. Students frequently ask their peers to report their relationship history, and well as the amount of porn they are exposed to each week on the television or computer screen.

The conclusions have included estimates that some college males spend up to 10 hours a week watching porn on their computers, and that pornography impacts sexual relationships in several standard ways including requests for a sexual partner to remove their genital hair, perform sexual acts they had not considered, and a sense of sexual inadequacy on the part of both male and female partners. There also are perceived emotional consequences of the pornography consumption from the female partner's perspective, including an over emphasis on the sexual component of the relationship.

Rather than blocking the pornographic content, which will encourage teens to disable the blocking software or just do the viewing somewhere else, why not pull up a chair and have a chat about what viewing porn does to our perceptions of relationships, bodies, and sexuality?

I look forward to hearing about what is learned.
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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