Two Reasons Why Kids Are More Vulnerable to Porn (and What You Can Do About It!)

by Feb 20, 2014Addiction/Brain Science

yellow neural networkA kid’s brain is wired to imitate the adult behavior they see and to accept it as “normal.” Here’s how they come to accept deviant, violent, hard-core porn as normal “sex education.”

According to a talk given by Sharon Cooper, M.D., of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a child’s brain is more vulnerable to the harms of viewing porn for two major reasons:

  1. Mirror neurons. A child’s brain has an abundance of mirror neurons. These neurons convince us that when we see something we are actually experiencing it. These neurons help kids imitate the behavior they see in their older siblings and in adults. Unfortunately, mirror neurons make pornography even more real to kids and helps them imitate what they see.
  2. Immature pre-frontal cortex. A child’s brain matures from the back (brainstem) to the front where the pre-frontal cortex resides. This area of the brain controls judgment, impulse control, and it’s where kids learn right from wrong and how to handle their emotions. The pre-frontal cortex is not mature until age 20 to 25. A child’s ability to resist the powerful and addictive pull of porn is less than an adult’s simply because of their immature pre-frontal cortex.

color brain diagramA perfect storm results when you add pornography to mirror neurons and an immature pre-frontal cortex. A child’s brain can be easily overwhelmed and re-wired by the messages porn teaches.

And that’s bad, because…

Adult pornography normalizes sexual harm. In other words, the violent, deviant full-color videos of Internet pornography can more readily be accepted as NORMAL by a child’s brain.

worried boy

A child is more vulnerable to seeing pornography.

Furthermore, today’s Internet pornography provides children with powerful visual examples of three dangerous messages:

  1. Sex is devoid of emotional attachment or commitment
  2. Unprotected sex has no consequences
  3. Violent rape is normal and even enjoyable

What are the consequences of this kind of sex education for a generation of kids? How will this affect their future ability to enjoy loving, trusting and committed sexual relationships?

Family playing with Tablet computer at homeSince parents cannot protect their kids 100% from exposure to pornography, kids will need to become a part of their own “porn-proofing” plan, much like they are with drugs, alcohol and stranger dangers.

Kids can be empowered to reject pornography. But they need good information and a plan. You can give them both!

What steps have you taken to help your kids protect their brains from the toxic messages of pornography? Please leave a comment!

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

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