With the rise of the internet, pornography can be easily accessed for free on a teenager’s phone. This is making it the new “drug” of choice. The negative effects of pornography on teenagers have been studied and measured. Unfortunately, the results are not pretty. Right now, 87% of college-aged men and 31% of women state that they watch porn frequently. Most said that they began watching when they were teenagers. Teens are retreating into pornography with rising rates with devastating effects. Here are just a few:
- Focus and Concentration Problems
- Low Motivation
- Social Anxiety
- Low Self-Esteem
- Erectile Dysfunction
How do these negative effects of pornography on teenagers start in the brain? Let me explain.
The brain is developing at a rapid rate during the teenage years. With this development comes a large increase of neurons in the brain and the grooving of neural pathways. Neuronal pathways are formed by consistent use over time. With consistent porn exposure and especially when it is coupled with the highly arousing act of masturbation, neural pathways begin to be deeply cut and wired in the brain of the teenage porn user.
What Happens in the Brain of Teens When They Watch Porn?
At the same time, the teenage brain is dominated by the reward and pleasure center. Emotional development ensues with the neurological growth that happens. When a teenager watches porn it creates an explosion of the reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, within the brain. Thus, this chemical release can help the teen feel relaxed and less stressed at the moment. It makes him want to come back for more. DeltaFosB, a protein in the brain that serves to mediate sexual reward responses, has been shown to be over-expressed in teens who consume regular porn. This overexpression creates hypersexuality for teens from an early age.
Why Does Life Become Challenging for the Teen Porn Consumer?
Similar to alcoholics who need an early morning drink just to get through the day, the stimulation from high porn usage can create difficulty with the normal levels of stimulation for teens. Honestly, the same effect is being experienced due to video game usage as well. So, the toils of daily life become more difficult to deal with because of the “high” found in porn. Simultaneously, the brain is being wired to need higher levels of stimulation to feel calm and focused. This shows up as a lack of focus and motivation, low self-esteem, and even depression for teens. If parents are unaware of the porn habit, they may not know what is at the root of their child’s problems.
What Teens Should Know About PornI am the mother of 4 teenagers and a 10-year-old. I have my hands full when it comes to keeping teenagers regulated. I have talked with my teens about porn and the negative effects because even though it might not be a major problem for them now, it can be in 5 or 10 years. The real danger of pornography is that it is a super sleuth. With regular viewing, an addiction can brew under the surface unbeknownst to the person. It really is a remarkable neurological issue. It is especially dangerous when it develops in the teen years. Therefore, the best way to avoid all the heartache is to not watch it in the first place.
If your teen is watching porn and you do not know how to help him stop. Contact me. I can help. If you’d like to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your child specifically, you can schedule one HERE.