Rise in teens accessing porn

Rise in teens accessing porn

A young man has told UTV his addiction to pornography led to secretive behaviour, as charities warn that children younger than ever have access to adult images.

He wishes to remain anonymous but he has spoken about his addiction to porn - an obsession that lasted for five years.

After "stumbling" across adult shows on cable television, he said he felt compelled to keep watching pornography.

He said: "It was more of a stumbling curiosity rather than a feeling, like this was something that I really wanted to do, and then obviously once you start then there is that desire to keep wanting to see stuff.

"At that early stage there was probably still a sense of this is something I shouldn't be doing and this is something that I need to keep really secret," he added.

At times, the young man said he was looking at porn twice a week, and although he acknowledges it is more often for others, it did make an impact on his life.

He explained: "You started to plan time, to make sure you could fit that into your day. You started to allow some of the thoughts and images that you would have seen - that would have become part of your thought pattern through the day."

For his friends, it had a detrimental impact on how they saw women and how they related to other people.

He added: "It became the lens with which they viewed other girls in their life and so rather than spotting girls at school, it would be then trying to imagine them in the scenarios that they had seen, and so it became quite an all consuming thing."

It's about having an open and frank discussion.

Charlene Brooks, Parenting NI

Almost half of all 14-year-old boys in Northern Ireland look at pornography weekly and almost one-quarter access the images every day, according to research by Love for Life. The charity argues that accessing porn should not be seen as a normal part of growing up.

Chief executive Judith Cairns said: "We are keen that young people learn about sexuality and relationships in an informed way, that they learn responsibility and that they get all the information that they might need to make healthy choices.

"We don't believe that pornography is giving them the best representation of relationships and sexuality."

But for parents who find their child has been accessing X-rated material, Parenting NI has some advice.

Charlene Brooks, from the parenting support organisation, said: "Those parents that have discovered things on their young person's phone or laptop are usually quite frightened by it, upset by it and don't know what to do about it.

She advised parents who realise it is more than natural curiosity not to ignore their child's activity.

"It's about having an open and frank discussion with your young person.

She added: "It's not shouting at them, it's not berating them, it's not setting up unrealistic expectations but it's explaining to them the danger associated with using mediums like this regularly and how you could become addicted to it and create a false sense of what relationships are like and then maybe restricting access."

© UTV

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