Have you ever heard that phrase?  Many believe that boys and girls are entitled to a little sexual exploration as they grow and develop, and I’ve talked with parents who have even bought their son a Playboy magazine to help them understand sexuality. 

What a lot of parents don’t understand is that today’s pornography is far more graphic, deviant and pervasive than in years past.  When their son or daughter head online for a little sexual exploration, they are likely to find free, live streaming videos of group sex, blowjobs, and women being penetrated in every orifice.   They will be confronted with millions of options of free clips and previews of women and men of every ethnicity, hair color, body type and age engaging in every known sex act on the planet.  Today’s Playboy magazine is often an entryway to much more graphic material, and for some kids, it can be the first step on a path towards sex addiction. 

Counseling for youth exhibiting addictive access to online pornography has spiked in recent years, and I’ve talked with many teenagers who feel as though they need to watch pornography to get off sexually.  Teenager girls are feeling pressured to live up to the porn star standard, engaging in anal sex, pursuing plastic surgery and creating sext messages and sex tapes to keep their boyfriends interested in them. 

The first generation to grow up with a steady diet of online pornography (young adults between 18 and 26 years of age) reported that the vast majority of both young men and young women view pornography and believe that viewing pornography is normal behavior.  The same study found that of those that viewed pornography, they were far less likely to be in a committed relationship and they were far more likely to have a high number of sexual partners, to struggle with alcohol and sex abuse and to struggle with depression.

It’s clear that pornography is one passage, and people do have a right to it, but in my opinion, it is not the only passage, and it’s not the right passage for our kids.  As a parent, we have to help our kids walk a better path.  We need to do our part to protect them online and offline pornography and recognize that the long-term dangers of pornography outweigh the short-term rewards.  If your son or daughter is viewing pornography, don’t ignore it: don’t dismiss their use as a right of passage.  Do something.  Have a conversation (check out “The Talk“).  Use a filter (like X3WatchPRO) and parental controls (like SafeEyes) on all Internet-enabled devices.  Help them plant their feet on a better path and stay away from the passageway that can lead to addiction, divorce, emotional and sexual dissatisfaction and depression.  For more, check out our parent resources here.