Pornography is a topic that is rarely discussed, mainly due to the stigma and shame that people feel when they watch porn. Many young adults have personally shared with me that the desire to watch porn has stemmed from their childhood. I used to be naive to the fact that pornography could ever stem from a person’s childhood and carry for years into adulthood. As I reflect, I realize I was exposed to porn when I was 8 years old and I thank God it never became anything more than that one instance.
One specific person comes to mind as I think of the effects porn has on children. This woman was 7 years old when she was first introduced to pornography. Ever since then, she hid what became an addiction in her life. She lived with the shame and fear that comes with addiction, making poor decisions over the years. The effects of her addiction colored how she viewed men and women, creating a cycle of self-esteem and confidence issues, which continued to feed the addiction. When she was older, she finally opened up about her addiction and sought help.
Being exposed to pornography at a young age can become a serious issue when older if one continues to engage or be exposed to it. Allison Baxter, writing for the American Bar Association, notes, “Addiction is an extension of reward-based learning that can physically alter the brain and affect later behavior.” She also states, “Children and teens are capable of developing compulsive sexual behaviors, which can lead to sexual addiction.” Compulsive behavior is not just something that you can stop once it becomes an addiction, it becomes something you can no longer control. Pornography is an issue that I believe should be discussed more frequently in order to recognize and assist those who need help and freedom from it.
Tomorrow, Rahab’s Daughters is hosting a Technology & Trafficking event online from 6:30-7:30pm where you can learn how to protect those you love in the Digital Age. Rahab’s Daughters also offers a free online porn curriculum so you can be able to bring awareness to your churches and communities. Visit our website or email us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
It is no surprise that our mind is powerful and anything we put in front of it affects how we think or act. What we watch, read, and direct our attention toward influences our behavior. Young children exposed to pornography will have guarantee unforeseen effects on their mental and behavioral development. If they perceive people through a lens of pornography, then every aspect of their life will be affected, how they act how they think and even how they feel. It is crucial to understand that most children view pornography accidentally. It is not their fault. Children are innocent and they don’t fully understand what they are seeing. We would be foolish to think that children who are exposed to porn won’t become affected long term.