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Study Says Smartphones Source of Significant Teen Pornography Access

New phones, new apps and new messaging tools may be leading to a new group of people – especially young teenagers – who are living with pornography addictions. Many experts believe the rise in these addictions is specifically connected to smartphones.

Many experts and researchers point to the fact that children are accessing pornography online as early as age 8; others are forming long-lasting addictions as early as age 11. Even the parents of teenagers who are tech-knowledgeable and take steps to prevent their children from accessing porn are becoming more concerned. They know pornographic information can be accessed and distributed via texting, public computers and at the homes of parents who may not be as vigilant.

At the foundation of the growing concern among parents, community leaders and even government officials is the rise of the smartphone and the tablet computer. One recent study says that more than half – 58 percent – of teens ages 14 to 17 have viewed pornographic materials from their phones. For boys, the concern for the consequences and potential for addiction to porn may be even more real. The study suggests that around 25 percent of boys reported viewing hardcore pornography at a minimum of once a week. Around five percent said pornography viewing is part of their daily routine.

The concern over smartphones and pornography viewing has been expressed by Jeff Schultz, of the Phoenix-based Sonoran Healing Center, among other sexual addiction and pornography addiction experts. Unlike viewing pornography on a laptop computer or a workstation, pornography from smartphones and related apps is accessible with a high level of anonymity on an around the clock basis, said Schultz in a recent article.

Online pornography is more graphic, extreme and explicit than the adult magazines of decades ago. Fetishes like violence or domination toward women are also prevalent among online pornography sources, and experts fear boys may be learning unhealthy and extreme attitudes toward sexual behavior and toward girls that they can carry for a lifetime. Many teens report being bullied or pressured into participating in sexting, or being asked at very young ages to perform sexual behaviors related to sexted messages.

Symptoms of teens with pornography addiction or excessive use of pornography include isolation, a drop in grades and school performance, sleeping problems, mood shifts and depression. Many teens have learned how to delete browsing histories from technology devices, so parents are urged to watch teen behaviors carefully for changes.

Researchers encourage parents to avoid data plans on smartphones all together for their teens. They are also encouraged to monitor closely the activities teens participate in with video game systems. Some video game systems can transmit pornographic images or games from an Internet connection.

Having talks about what’s healthy and appropriate concerning sex, and having these talks over and over again, remains among experts’ top suggestions for helping teens avoid consuming, life-destructive pornography addictions and the consequences they bring.

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