In today's world, youth have access to everything, including all types of pornography. The dangers are real and the statistics are both startling and disturbing. Here are just a few: American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11; four out of five 16 year olds regularly access pornography on-line. (http://www.internetsafety101.org/Pornographystatistics.htm).

I am beginning to get more calls from parents concerned that their pre-teens and teens (both sons and daughters) are looking at pornography, and the teens I meet with share being concerned that they are addicted to it. During the intake process,teens say that the common denominator regarding where they first saw porn was a cell phone; most often someone else's (accidentally viewing it on their parent's phone or having another child/teen show them).

The risk of viewing pornography for ANYONE is that the brain can immediately get hijacked. For a young person's brain that is not fully developed, addiction is highly likely, even inevitable. Parents that minimize or ignore the seriousness of their child viewing porn are not just in denial, they are putting their children and themselves at risk (including legal risk due to child endangerment).

Here are some signs that your child/teen is addicted to porn:

1. An unusual curiosity about sexuality at a young age 2. Premature sexuality, sexting, talking or dressing/behaving in seductive ways (it is not age appropriate for children/teens to be doing this) 3. Inappropriate pop-ups or emails on your computer 4. Computer screen changes when you walk in the room 5. Not wanting to show you their phone 6. Having a smart phone or phone that has access to internet (this is a warning sign due to access!) 7. Increased secretiveness, defensiveness, irritability 8. Hanging with older friends

If you are concerned about your child/teen viewing porn, here is what you can do: 1. Talk to your child/teen in a loving way. This is key. Even if they are defensive, they need to know you are not judging them, but concerned for their safety. Educate them on the risks of looking at pornography and other social media that is potentially exploitive. 2. Install blocking software on your, their computer and phone. Let them know that this is for THEIR protection (their are many predators on apps and the internet that sexually assault children every day):www.cyberpatrol.com,www.netnanny.com,www.cybersitter.com,www.k9webprotection.com 3. Get professional help by contacting a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. At Namaste Consulting, LLC, we specialize in treating sexual and other process addictions.

It is crucial that you protect your children/teens from the harmful effects of viewing pornography. As their parent, you are responsible for their safety. If you know your child/teen has access and/or is viewing pornography and you do not do anything about it, you are at risk of child endangerment, and the state of Utah can and often will get involved in ensuring you keep your child and family safe.

For more information on the internet safety, go to http://www.internetsafety101.org/pornography101.htm.

Namaste. Candice