At Culture Reframed, we understand how daunting it can be to raise teens in an environment that normalizes hypersexualized pop culture and violent mainstream pornography. We’ve identified 4 things that can be helpful in successfully building young people’s resilience and resistance to porn culture. These are:
- Open and regular communication, including a dialogue that encourages questions and seeking support, rather than shaming or blaming.
- An awareness of the harms of pornography on children’s emotional, cognitive and sexual development.
- An understanding of how porn shapes and influences broader culture.
- Wherever possible, reduce access to porn and hypersexualized culture, instead directing kids towards environments that celebrate healthy friendships, talents and character strengths.
Talking about porn regularly is essential and underpins your young person’s ability to critically analyze porn culture. Some topics to get started include:
Pornography doesn’t represent “real sex.”
Porn can be disturbing and trigger a huge range of feelings: curiosity, confusion, disgust, arousal or guilt.
Often pornography is power imbalanced – control, degradation and violence is usually directed at women by men.
Just because something is arousing or pleasurable doesn’t mean it is good for them.
You can’t unsee pornography. It robs imagination.
Porn usually doesn’t depict emotional intimacy. Great sex includes respect, mutuality, intimacy, gentleness and sensuality – these qualities assist in forming a healthy committed adult relationship.
Women aren’t sexual objects or toys who exist to please men. All human beings have the right to bodily integrity. It goes without saying, this is true for all sexual orientations.
IDENTIFYING WARNING SIGNS
Your teen may already be struggling with pornography, so it’s important to identify the warning signs. Is your child or teen:
- Withdrawing from activities?
- Shutting down devices suddenly?
- Displaying noticeable changes in language, demeanor or behaviors?
- Having nightmares, wetting the bed, or experiencing similar ‘trauma’ induced symptoms?
- Spending long periods of time in the bathroom, toilet or shower?
- Talking about sexual things too advanced for their age?
- Exhibiting signs of depression and/or anxiety?
Warning signs may look different for your young person, depending on their age and stage.
HOW DO I RESPOND WHEN MY TEEN SEES OR IS USING PORNOGRAPHY?
Culture Reframed has developed a model to help parents respond well when they discover their young person has viewed pornography. Access the COMPOSE Yourself! model and learn key strategies to navigate this journey well.
Teens Struggling with Porn
The porn industry is calculated in how it targets children and young people to get hooked on pornography, so if your teen is struggling, it’s important that they know they are not alone. Some of the platforms and online resources that may help are listed below.
Fortify Program is the perfect tool help change behaviour. Free for youth aged 13-20, the Fortify Program will walk you through more than fifty short videos that cover the science of addiction, the harms of pornography, tools to help you break free, and other helpful information so that you can be empowered to overcome your struggle with pornography. This service is also available for anyone over 21 years of age for a $39 one-time fee. Fortify Program is brought to you by Fight the New Drug
No Fap: Get a new grip on life. A secular porn recovery community website for all victims of pornography. Whether you have a porn addiction yourself or just need support as a partner, parent, or loved one of somebody struggling with pornography, this community will support you.
Reboot Nation helps people reboot their brains with encouragement and education. Reboot is a complete rest from artificial sexual stimulation (i.e. pornography). They are a community of people who have discovered the negative effects of pornography. Reboot Nation provides many resources and information to equip you with the tools necessary to start recovering today and become more aware of the potential harm caused by high-speed Internet porn. Also check out Gabe Deem’s YouTube Channel
Addicted to Internet Porn: Have you been harmed by your porn usage habits? Learn how it can cause sexual and emotional dysfunction and how to recover. Coaching available by Noah Church, along with an informative YouTube Channel
Sites for teens
Online Porn: From Childline in the UK, this page is for young people aged 12 and over.
Sex. Relationships. The Internet: From Think U Know in the UK, this site offers practical insight for teens aged 14+.
Porn: what science says: From Think U Know in the UK, this page is for 14+ teens.
Sex & U: your trusted resource for sexual and reproductive health
Learning Resources – a comprehensive list by Culture Reframed, including books and an extensive video list.
CriticalPornIQ for schools, equips educators to implement policies and learning materials for students, and directs staff & parents to further support. Click through to be notified when it becomes available.
Online Porn: Advice on how to talk to your child about the risks of online porn and sexually explicit material provided from NSPCC in the UK.
Healthy sexual behaviour in children and young people: Your guide to keeping children safe, spotting warning signs and what to do if you’re worried.
The Reward Foundation: Love, sex and the Internet.
National Center on Exploitation: Exposing the seamless connection between all forms of Sexual Exploitation.
Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction. This website provides the latest research findings as well as information for those addicted.
There are a growing number of filtering and accountability software platforms to block access to online pornography. At Culture Reframed, we advise that filtering and monitoring apps should always be accompanied with open conversations with your teens, so that they develop their own ability to critically analyse porn and become porn resilient kids.
Popular prevention tools include:
- Safe Surfer: Supporting Online Safety (Home Internet Filtering)
- Safe Surfer: Android App
- Safe Surfer: Apple App
- Net Nanny
- Qustodio Parental Control
- Content Barrier and Family Protector by Integro
- McAfee Safe Family
- Norton Family Premiere
- OpenDNS Home VIP
- PureSight Multi
- Witigo Parental Filter
These are just some of the many platforms available. Listing them here does not constitute an endorsement by Culture Reframed. Take the time to investigate what filters and monitoring apps are right for your family.
The below video clips are great conversation starters. We recommend watching them first, to identify those best suited to your teens development and needs.
Is free pornography destroying our brains?
School kids today are watching porn like never before. It’s free, it’s instant and it’s having a devastating effect.
New Zealand TV3 current affairs program 3D has spoken to porn users and porn addicts; as well as reformed porn addict, Gabe Deem; sexuality educator, Liz Walker; and top international scientist, Dr Donald Hilton, who say this new type of porn can actually alter our brains.