Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction in Kids

Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction in Kids

By Leina Hoyt, MFT

 

The following are some signs and symptoms of porn addiction in kids. It is important to be aware that while these are possible signs of porn use, these behaviors also can be seen with drug/alcohol abuse, bullying, feelings of disconnect from the family and other problems that teens face.

  • Isolation: spending time alone in room or bathroom
  • Change in mood: this is a possibility, but has to be evaluated on case by case basis
  • Disinterested in spending time with others
  • Excessively long periods of time in the shower
  • Taking phone into bathroom
  • Acting out behavior: sexting, sexual harassment, explicit emails, etc.
  • Secrecy, withdrawal
  • Increase is contempt/disdainful comments, objectifying others, etc.
  • Sexualized language
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age
  • Sexually violent comments, jokes, victim blame
  • Drawing pornographic images
  • Peeping
  • Sexual behavior that is not developmentally appropriate

Some more extreme signs of porn addiction, or symptoms that the addiction is progressing: 

  • Using media to discuss pornography: texts, X Box messages, Instagram, email
  • Viewing multiple pornography sites. Any violent or extremely aberrant sites will create problems with healthy sexual development
  • Interest in group sexual violence
  • Engaging in risky behavior in spite of negative results: using school or church or neighbors computers to look up porn
  • Masturbating in public
  • Viewing porn in public place
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Accusations of sexual bullying/harassment

Therapist suggestions for addressing pornography addiction in a child:

  • Software Blocks (Read more about filters here)
  • All electronics out of bedrooms
  • Only public access to electronics
  • Parents to have all passwords to all electronic accounts to assure safety
  • Therapy (Read what to look for in a therapist here)

This is not a comprehensive list, it does not confirm that a teen is viewing porn nor does it offer a solution to every situation. These are things to pay attention to, regardless of the age of your child and whether or not the child is viewing pornography. The most important thing a parent can do is be present and aware of changes in a child’s/teen’s behavior. Parents should foster a healthy relationship with children (the sooner the better!) to build trust and teach by example ways to create the healthy emotional connection every human needs.

Leina Hoyt, MFT is the Executive Director and Founder of the Hope for Healthy Families Counseling Center in Elk Grove, California. Leina is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has extensive experience with families, children, and adolescents. She has many years of experience treating anxiety, depression, trauma, and abuse. She has treated patients suffering from pornography addiction as young as 6 years old.

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