Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Teens and Internet Porn- When Will We Start Protecting Our Children?

This article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer gives very troubling statistics about the rate of Internet porn addiction being seen in psychologist's and psychiatrist's offices. As a former psychiatrist, I can tell you that parents are usually stunned when they finally realize that their teen is addicted to Internet porn.

Just because Johnny spends almost every waking moment on the private computer that he has in his room does not seem to cause most parents any concern. Only when grades start to slip or friendships seem impaired do parents feel moved to investigate what their children on doing online.

I recently wrote an article about Internet safety for kids and I learned that over 90% of the time, the child does not purposely seek porn in the beginning. Rather, they are innocently caught in a website deceptions cleverly designed by porn operators to lure kids to the site. For instance, typing in "white house" to a search engine will get you unpleasant results. The same is true for other common research tools children may use to complete their homework.

Any child who uses the Internet is at risk of porn addiction and unsupervised use in private areas (such as a bedroom) heightens the risk.

So even if you feel your children are probably protected, you may still want to take a moment to teach your older children about the dangers of Internet porn. Let them know that even one curious look can lead to problems of mighty proportions. (The same goes for grown men as well).

I just feel that parents should be aware.

The Internet is a wonderful source of learning and information but like everything else, it must be used wisely for greatest benefit with the least harm.
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