There are several things that make us shudder as parents. We hope we never help teenagers navigate their way out of drug use, an abusive relationship, failing grades, and suicidal behavior. Now that the internet has become a daily part of all of our lives, we have to add a few more to the list. We pray we never help our teens face a serious video gaming addiction, gambling addiction, or pornography addiction. Unfortunately these are things parents are having to deal with more and more.
Teenagers usually have their own smart phones. They often also have a laptop, tablet and TV in their own room. There is ample opportunity to have endless, unchaperoned screen time. It’s tough because this is the norm. Our kids feel ripped off if we don’t give them all these things.
Sadly there is a very significant proportion of teens who are not really mature enough to manage these devices in a responsible manner. One of the main things they can get sucked into is porn.
Porn is free, and it’s very easy to find. Your teen, whether they view it or not, knows how to find it. If it becomes something they watch on a regular basis, there are a lot of problems that arise. Your adolescent child is likely to start isolating. They might be masturbating so frequently that they are injuring themselves (yes, this really happens). They are developing inappropriate, unrealistic ideals about sexuality and relationships. They are hearing language that is degrading. The list goes on.
Watching porn releases endorphins in the brain. It’s an addictive experience. This is the reason the industry is one of the chief money-makers in the world. If your adolescent is struggling with an addiction to pornography, it is a hard challenge to overcome. It’s not like it’s possible to completely avoid the triggers once they’ve “gotten sober.” They still have to use a phone, the internet, and they still have to be alone sometimes. In short, they absolutely MUST have support to overcome this problem.
At Teen Therapy OC we have a male therapist on staff, Seth, who can help if it is your adolescent son using pornography. Seth does his sessions online, meaning it is through a medium similar to Skype. This turns out to be very helpful because your teen is often triggered by the computer and being alone in his room. By doing sessions through the computer, Seth is able to help your teenager create new associations with time online. He can work with your teenager through teletherapy to help them begin the journey to freedom.
If you have a teenage daughter who is struggling with porn use, then they would work with me, Lauren. I have sessions available both in the office and through videoconference. It is more common with young girls than you might think. The good news is that the addiction cycle can be broken and your daughter can get back to herself.
I know this is a really hard thing to face. It is a heartbreaking situation that you never imagined when you had kids. Let’s work together to get help and get your teen back on track.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT