Internet Pornography Leading to 'Unhealthy' Attitudes about Sex

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By Myles Collier , Christian Post Contributor
May 24, 2012|5:00 pm

There is new concern among parents and researchers alike that easily accessible pornographic material available on the internet leads many kids to get the wrong idea about sex, which in turn leads they to underestimate the emotional aspects involved in mature relationships.

William Struthers, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, stated that adolescents in the 12- to 18-year-old range were "rampantly" searching and viewing pornography on the internet.

With the ease of internet access coupled with the simplicity granted by smartphones, more and more young adults are curiously seeking out questionable content.

"It's not a question of if my 10-year-old son is exposed. It's a matter of when," Struthers said during a discussion of pornography at Wheaton College.

Struthers explained that few decades ago, there were few options that adolescents had to view pornographic material. Now, the internet era has essentially made pornography "intrusive" in these information-abundant days.

There is also a growing trend among young adults who use email and text messaging to send and receive explicit content with little understanding of the results of such actions. Feelings seem to be changing how those individuals view the appropriateness of pornographic material.

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According to Struthers, 67 percent of men and 49 percent who view pornographic material feel that it is an acceptable and normal expression for sexuality. The nature of these attitudes is allowing young adolescents to be "groomed into unhealthy attitudes to sex," he said.

These unhealthy ideas about sex puts added pressure on young people as they compare themselves with those whom they see involved in such content.

"They can see it, they know how to do it, but they don't know how to emotionally respond to the consequences of those actions," Struthers said.

Pornography is giving young people "unrealistic attitudes about sex and sexual relationships", he said, leading to girls having self-confidence and insecurities about their body as well as young men having the wrong ideas as to the role sex should play in their lives.

Struthers explained that there is a trend that is seeing young people learn sexual morality and behavior not from family members or church communities, but from watching pornography. This, in turn, leads to an accepted understanding of sex as a "physical" act, instead of an emotional and intimate one.

"Pornography is teaching them that sex is available on demand, whenever, wherever and however they want it," Struthers said.

"They are looking for intimacy and think that pornography is helping them [but it's] junk food. Sex is about connecting with others … Pornography has co-opted this," he continued.

Struthers encourages parents to be open with their children about the seriousness of sexual relationships and the commitment that is needed. He also says that parents should talk to their children in an effort to provide a level of comfort so that adolescents can talk to them should they come across explicit content.

He also recommends that parents become familiar with the technology their children are using in an effort to filter the content they are exposed to by setting internet browsers with parental restrictions.

"The effect of pornography can be counteracted when you challenge those beliefs," he said.

 

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