Home | *Motherhood | Young children are getting hooked on porn

Young children are getting hooked on porn

Cheryl McHenry

http://www.daytondailynews.com/

One local boy was just 5 years old when he started acting out sexually and aggressively. His mother said he seemed to have “too much knowledge for his age.” She found out later that an older cousin had downloaded pornography and showed it to her son.

Another mother spotted “unusual body language” as her young son, wearing headphones, watched a Wii U console. She picked up the device and was shocked to learn he was watching pornography.

“I didn’t even know you could do that,” she said.

Clinical Psychotherapist Frances Duncan, who treats both boys, said children as young as five are being deeply affected by watching pornography “and some that I would even consider to be mirroring addictive behavior with pornography.”

Duncan is the founder of the Positive Solutions Counseling Center on West Grand Avenue in Dayton. In her nearly 30 years of practice, she says young children getting hooked on pornography is a “relatively new problem” but is increasingly more widespread as the sex industry has expanded.

Children can easily find pictures of graphic sexual behavior on any electronic device — from smartphones and iPads to computer and TV screens that show video games, cartoons, and Netflix. Even if a child doesn’t have access to one of these devices, Duncan said they are often exposed to porn by an older relative, neighbor or classmate.

“Once they’ve seen erotic images, they can’t un-see it. They can’t get it out of their heads,” said Duncan. “This stuff (porn) not only changes the brain chemistry, but the structure in the brain and these are young developing little brains. It is exactly the same addiction as to an opiate.”

Duncan has counseled about a dozen boys and girls ages 5 through 12 showing signs of porn addiction. She said the children she works with “are very distressed.

“It’s causing anxiety, sleep disturbance,” said Duncan. “It’s a traumatic experience.”

There is little research on just how many children in the United States are addicted to online pornography, but Duncan believes the earlier a child gets treatment, the better.

“Our generation of little kids right now are guinea pigs for this,” Duncan said. “We don’t want to see in 20 years the serious damage that it’s caused that we could have possibly prevented had we known.”

Tony Bucio of Dayton says he is recovering from a porn addiction that started with watching “R-rated” movies as an 8-year old and gradually evolved.

“The internet came into the picture, and that’s when it really took off,” he said.

Now 27, Bucio said porn became a “huge problem in my life.” He couldn’t focus in school because he was staying up late at night viewing pornography.

“I would think about it all the time,” he said.

Eventually it led to problems with his longtime partner, Ali Laux, who realized about a year into the relationship that he had a serious problem.

“It made me feel bad about myself, personally. It made me feel insecure,” she said. “Why was I not good enough that he had to seek this out?”

She finally confronted him and they attended counseling with Duncan.

“Our communication has improved,” says Laux. “I feel like I can trust him. I feel more secure sharing my thoughts with him.”

Duncan said staying open and talking is a key for those with a porn addiction.

“The secrecy is what keeps it going and fueled and goes from being five years old into adulthood,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important to bring it into the light and talk about it.”

Cheryl Mahoney, who created iWise Screen Health Solutions in Kettering after working as a therapist in public schools, said children who spend so much time in a virtual world can have trouble in the real world.

She’s developed a presentation for parents, schools, and groups called “The ‘P’ Word” that offers instruction on recognizing the danger signs of a pornography addiction and finding solutions, including how to block access to young children.

Kids are getting access at very young ages. One 8-year-old told her he liked a certain haunted house at Kings Island because it looked like a strip club, Mahoney said.

“I soon discovered that nudity, sex, strip clubs, lap dances, and rape are common activities in popular video games,” she said.

Check Also

The Metaphorical Realm of Barelw-ism and Its Current Misconstrual

      THE START OF IT ALL   It was a time when Muslims …

Just Friends Part 1

  A day of hard work with your peers on a project, a sister suggests …