The porn crisis
Porn is the world’s de facto sex ed for our children and youth around the world
Everywhere kids are, so is mainstream, violent porn
Hardcore, explicit porn is widely available. It can be easily accessed from any device with an internet connection including phones, tablets, game consoles, and even e-readers.
1 in 3 kids say they’ve seen explicit, hardcore porn by age 12, which equates to roughly 25 million children in the U.S. alone. In the majority of cases, they’ve stumbled upon it accidentally.
Much of this content is misleading, degrading, and objectifying. That’s a dangerous trifecta that shapes kids’ perception of consent, sexual violence, gender equality, sexuality, and intimate relationships at an extremely young age and without any context.
Porn undermines the whole-person health of young people. It impacts every facet of their developmental wellness—social, emotional, cognitive, and physical.
Myth #1: My child hasn’t seen porn
Chances are, they have. Extremely graphic online porn is widely available, free, and accessible not only from smartphones but also from countless electronic devices that children interact with daily.
The facts speak for themselves: 1 in 3 kids report they’ve seen porn by age 12. And only 50% of parents thought their 14-to-18-year-olds had seen porn as had in fact watched it. Depending on the sex act, parents underestimated what their kids saw by as much as 10 times.
Myth #2: Porn isn’t that bad
Today there are hundreds of millions of free, easy-to-access hardcore videos that depict misogynistic, humiliating, degrading content at best and contain images of sexual assault, rape, and even incest at worst.
What’s more, virtual reality (VR) porn—where a user can be fully immersed in their surroundings—is already here and rapidly advancing. An increasing number of kids own VR video game platforms, which are connected to the internet.
- For teens, a significant relationship exists between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness and major depression
- Minors who view pornography and other sexualized media are more accepting of sexual violence and more likely to believe “rape myths” (i.e., that women enjoy being raped)
- A study of 14-to-19-year-olds found that females who consumed pornographic videos were at a significantly greater risk of being victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault
Myth #3: There’s nothing I can do about my kids discovering porn
While porn will continue to exist, we absolutely do have control over how we reframe our culture’s messaging with kids.
Young people need trusted adults to help them build resilience and resistance to hypersexualized media and porn. As a parent or caregiver, you play the most critical role in offering your children alternative, healthy messages about sex that instill respect in themselves and others. Our online courses for parents can help you get there, starting right now.
Regain control and help kids cope with the effects of porn
Culture Reframed is the premier science-based, global organization of scholars, professionals, and activists addressing the harms of pornography to youth.
We understand how scary and overwhelming it can feel as a parent to know that your child has seen, or will see, explicit porn.
But you are not alone. It is not yours or your child’s fault. And there is action you can take to help your child become more resilient to the negative impacts of porn.
Our free, comprehensive, online courses for parents and caregivers can help ensure your child develops healthy, respectful, and egalitarian views of sex and intimacy throughout their lives.
Looking for additional resources and helpful links?
Check out our Resources page.