Kids Who Watch Porn More Likely To Become Sex Abusers, Study Warns

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Awful.

Porn can be good old-fashioned fun as consenting adults when we have the know-how to deal with what we’re seeing on the screen and separate right from wrong. But there’s a reason that children and young people are often shielded from pornography.

One of those reasons happens to be the devastating effects that exposing them to it can cause. With tablets, smartphones, and even glasses and watches that can access the internet now in more unrestricted ways, children and teenagers are able to get inappropriate videos and pornography easier than ever.

But just what are the dangers of pornography on a young mind? Does it really affect them so negatively? According to a new study, yes. Researchers believe that this could have a direct affect on whether or not they develop the need for sexually abusive behavior and molest or sexually assault other children.

RELATED: What Every Parent MUST Tell Their Kids About Porn (BEFORE Age 13)

Researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia discovered that younger people who had admitted to sexually assaulting another child believed that if someone had taught them how to understand the pornography they’d seen and had given them better sex education to begin with, they wouldn’t have become sexually abusive. Children simply do not have the context or capability to comprehend what they’re seeing in sex acts, and this could greatly warp their thoughts on the subject and lead to harmful behavior.

For the study, the researchers spoke to fourteen young people and asked them questions about their sexual assaults on other children. Of these fourteen, twelve admitted that they had watched pornography, and at least three confirmed that their sexual abuse was a direct result of something they had witnessed in a porno.

Studies done in the past have shown that as many as half of children who are attacked in child-on-child abuse crimes are under the age of six. Their attackers are likely to be barely older, around twelve years old.

These young children are all victims of sexual abuse, whether they’re the ones perpetrating it or being attacked. And unfettered or barely restricted access to pornography alongside a severe lack of education is making new victims all the time.

“The access that young people are having to pornography, as well as our collective ‘turning a blind eye’ is akin to a kind of cultural grooming of children,” said Gemma McKibbin, the study’s lead author. “We can’t, on the one hand, say we don’t want to talk with young children about sexuality while on the other hand do nothing about the multi-billion-dollar pornography industry and the telecommunications industry that enables access.”

So who’s actually responsible for teaching children about sex? Many states do not require any kind of sexual education for children, and only 20 states even believe that their sex education needs to be factual and accurate. There are many other states that don’t require sex ed at all and only 33 that require education about HIV.

RELATED: Your Kids WILL See Porn — This Checklist Makes Sure They're Prepared

Other states refuse to teach real sex ed and even allow parents to opt their child out of it completely while attempting to enforce “abstinence only” when it comes to sex. Despite the fact that abstinence-only programs have been proven to be completely ineffective, they also don’t help children who’ve already been exposed to sex or pornography, like many of the children who are twelve and younger. Plenty of parents rely on schools to teach their children about sex, while not fixing the fuzzy spots in their child’s education if they don’t.

Facts show that leaving children to learn about sex and pornography for themselves is not only irresponsible, it’s quite dangerous. Given the correlation between exposure and harmful sexual behavior, it’s clear that our education standards need to be rectified.

So just how can we stop children from falling prey to sexual abuse? The best thing you can do is educate them about porn, sex, and reproduction to help them make healthy decisions for the future.

And if you know a child that has been sexually abused or is a sexual abuser, then please don’t hesitate to contact Stop It Now, a website with resources to help protect children.

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