Children and the danger of pornography | Middle East

Cairo: Dr. Hany Ramzy Awad

A recent study, published at the beginning of December of this year, revealed that a large percentage of children view pornography at the end of childhood and before the beginning of adolescence, and approximately one in 10 children view these materials before puberty. . In most cases, the actual percentage could be higher than that if it is taken into account that there are younger children who are ashamed to announce their viewing or are not even aware enough of what they are watching.

Phones and pornography
A study published in the online version of Professional School Counseling by scientists from the University of Georgia in the United States, University of Georgia Early College of Education, indicates the danger of carrying a smartphone with children at an early age, because it is the most important way in which children view such materials. ; Because it follows the child everywhere and it is difficult to constantly censor it, unlike the television screen which is mostly in a place where everyone is watching, and it is easy to control the content you provide. The same can apply to a computer.
Researchers conducted a survey of 350 students between the ages of 12 and 17, and they were asked if they had received or sent pornography to others. It found that there was a 15 percent rate of students who had sent messages that had sexual connotations to at least one person, whether those messages included written text or graphic material.
Also, there is a percentage of 25 percent of those who received a message of sexual content, and another percentage of 25 percent of those who were asked to send an SMS message. About 12 percent of the sample reported feeling peer pressure to send similar messages in the year before the survey.
The researchers explained that parents and those who work with students in schools should be aware of modern technology, the pressures placed on children, exposure to bullying in the case of group abuse and facing ridicule from colleagues in the case of refusing to follow them. Half of the students reported exposure to pornography, and children were on average first exposed to pornography at the age of 11.5 years (around the end of elementary school), which is a significantly younger age than previous studies have shown.
Scientists have stated that the ease of accessing free online pornography on mobile phones is the main reason for the decline in the age group viewing such material. One in three college students had viewed pornography at least once in the previous year, and 8 percent of college students viewed the site almost every day, and it was noted that viewing was more common among college students than among women.
The study warned of the danger of children viewing sexual material. Because it is associated with many negatives on a psychological and social level and on sexual health later in puberty; Because exposure to sexual material at an early age can lead to abuse of younger children or even rape. It also inculcates a distorted model of violence against women into the mentality of male children, which later in puberty leads to the crime of physical or sexual abuse. Pornography can also lead to the isolation of a child, as he feels guilty for watching such scenes, especially in conservative societies.

Psychological risks
Viewing these materials at an early age can turn into addictive behavior like drug or alcohol addiction in a real chemical way, as the brain secretes dopamine, which makes the addict feel satisfied and comfortable. And when large amounts are released quickly, addiction occurs. The viewer connects with such materials until he feels the euphoria that he gets every time, and it becomes like a real addiction, with the possibility that addiction to pornography leads to any other addiction, because studies show that one person with one addiction is more likely to develop another addiction.
Basically, these behaviors cause the inability to concentrate in learning, poor academic performance, and negatively affect the correct sexual behavior of these children later after marriage and cause psychological problems in children; Because changes in dopamine secretion can lay the foundations for depression.
Some studies show that adolescents who regularly watch pornography have more depressive symptoms than others, as well as feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction. The researchers explained that early exposure to pornography can lead to long-term defects in the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for controlling emotional things such as morality, empathy, impulse control, the ability to make decisions and think correctly, and therefore the child can suffer from mental distraction.
The study advised parents that they should put some kind of control over the content their children can watch, through certain protection programs on the Internet that make it safe whenever possible, and there must be a constant open dialogue between parents and children; To find out if the child wants to ask about a certain topic. And we must not bother with questions or blame the child, but must make it clear to him that the matter is not right and must not be repeated without parental punishment, but with understanding and knowledge.
Consultant pediatrician

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