There are over 14.5 billion pornography videos viewed by 7-17 year olds in the United States every year. Our young people represent one of the largest pornography viewing demographics in the world.
Parents are unaware or in denial about their own young person's exposure. We know that 93% of all boys and 68% of all girls will see this content before they leave high school. Even if your child beats those odds, most of their peers will have viewed this content. Teen culture is saturated with pornography's ideas and standards.
The conversation has been very awkward for parents and therefore mostly ignored. This is not "dad's Playboy." Online pornography is dangerous for young people of all genders.
Challenges for Boys
Estimate of 14 - 17 year old boy's consumption of pornography videos rangeas high as 50 videos per week. Viewing pornography in that large of a volume, at that early an age, can have immediate and long lasting effects on the brain development. This can manifest itself in shame, fear, and anxiety. In extreme doses, it can contribute to anger, aggression, depression, lack of interest in other people, loneliness, objectification and even assault.
Boys as young as 7 years old have reported viewing pornography. In the United States, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
The real challenge for boys is that they view this content regularly and believe it to be real. We do not provide our boys an alternative message to the content they view, and instead allow them to gain their sexual education from online pornography. This can rob a young person of his own individual interests, and may increase any resentment, anger, frustration or loneliness that he may already be experiencing.
Challenges for Girls
Girls may view this content with a natural curiosity in an effort to gain 'maturity.' They can be negatively affected emotionally by comparing themselves to porn stars, or trying to live up to that image.
Girls may watch pornography to try to understand what a partner 'wants', and by doing so give up her own individual ideas of sexuality. Girls endure body shaming, slut shaming, prude shaming and sex shaming as early as 11 years old; either is a tough way to be depicted on social media. The idea of "sexuality as currency" is not healthy for our young girls.
Another challenge for girls, is that aggressive, 'porn-sex' soaked boys, can see girls as sex objects, and girls can face an accelerated idea of what any initial physical contact should or could be like for them. This can include sexual violence at the hands of a partner.
The Third Talk™ is here to provide parents with information and language to initiate pornography prevention conversations with their kids. We share how to keep that conversation going through adolescence.
We've witnessed legal, political, legislative, technical and religion-based campaigns fail to curb this contents’ availability to our young people.
It is communication between parents and young people that will meet this challenge. We take a direct and purposeful approach. We do not shame, blame, or use colorful language. We talk about the world our kids live in, not the world we wished they live in. Grown-ups created this environment and grown-ups need to change it.