Kids and teens who watch porn more dissatisfied later in life, study finds

Research published in The Journal of Sex Research found that teens who watch porn feel less satisfied and watch more porn later as adults.

 

The study, conducted by Brian J. Willoughby, Bonnie Young-Petersen, and Nathan D. Leonhardt, asked 908 adults about their prior and current pornography use, personal relationships, and mental health. These adults were asked to provide data in these areas for each year of their lives beginning at age seven.

 

The responders roughly fell into four different categories based on the age at which they began using pornography:

 

*Early engager: 7-10 years old

*Pubescent engager: 11-13 years old

*Late engager: 14-17 years old

*Abstainers: Almost no engagement with pornography at any age

 

The participants in the first two groups, those who began using pornography consistently between the ages of seven and thirteen years old, were more likely to have continued using pornography throughout their lives and consumed more pornography than the other two groups. They also were more likely to agree with these statements:

 

“My thoughts about pornography are causing problems in my life.”

 

“My desires to view pornography disrupt my daily life.”

 

“I sometimes fail to meet my commitments and responsibilities because of my pornography use.”

 

“Sometimes my desire to view pornography is so great that I lose control.”

 

“I have to struggle not to view pornography.”

 

Unsurprisingly, these early engagers were also more likely to use pornography compulsively as adults.

 

 

The participants in the abstainer group were more likely to be married as adults and reported slightly better mental health and greater life satisfaction than those in other groups.

 

The data from this study also suggested that those who used pornography infrequently or inconsistently demonstrated similar patterns and outcomes to the abstainer group. This may be the best news of the study, because it means healing really is possible for those who leave pornography behind!

 

Despite all the positive outcomes for teens who avoided pornography, the researchers found that these teens were less sexually knowledgeable and confident than their peers who watched porn. The study’s authors stressed the importance of providing teens with appropriate sex education and preparing them to be confident in their sexuality as adults.

 

 

The authors of this study also repeatedly emphasized the negative consequences for pornography use as children. These children grew up to use more pornography, display more dysfunctional pornography use (like addiction and compulsive use), were significantly less satisfied with their lives, and were least likely to be married as adults. As parents, we may not be able to shield our children from pornography forever, but simply protecting them through childhood will pay off dividends for their future.

 

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New research links excessive screen time and hyperactive behaviors

New research presented at Neuroscience 2016, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, links large amounts of screen time during childhood and hyperactivity behaviors.

 

Researchers have hypothesized that a great deal of sensory stimulation can predispose young children to attentional deficits like ADHD. Obviously, ethical considerations prohibit testing this theory on human children, so the researchers had to use mice. The unfortunate ten day old rodents were exposed to six hours of audio-visual stimulation a day for several weeks. After the exposure period, the mice showed hyperactive behaviors, impaired learning and memory, and increased risk-taking behaviors. Additionally, the mice were more susceptible to cocaine, and the mice’s brains had changed in addiction-related areas. To read more about the study, click here and scroll to page three.

 

While these results may seem alarming, keep in mind that not all human children spend six hours a day watching television or on the iPad. However, this information may be useful for parenting kids with a family or personal history of hyperactivity or addiction. This study also highlights how malleable the brain is in early childhood and supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for limiting screen time for very young children.

 

Parents, it can be exhausting to enforce screen time rules– especially when kids are on break. Let Clean Router do the work for you! Clean Router will block un-kidfriendly content on every device in your home, set schedules for your kids’s devices, and even put the internet to bed at a decent hour.

 

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You CAN talk to your five year old about pornography– and here’s how

Hey parents– imagine yourself talking to your kids about pornography.

 

How old are your kids?

 

If you’re like most parents, you probably pictured your kids as teens, maybe tweens, shifting uncomfortably in their seats as you talk about addiction, sexuality, respect, and exploitation. There’s only one problem with that plan.

 

It’s way too late.

 

By age fifteen, your teenager is more likely to have seen pornography than not. The average age of a kid seeing pornography for the first time? Twelve years old.  Focus on the Family cites research claiming it’s now eight years old!

 

Parents, if you want to get to your kids first– and believe me, you do– you need to start the conversation about pornography with your kids far before the teen years.

 

How?

 

If you cringe at the idea of discussing prostitution, sexual violence, and addiction with your kindergarten, you’re not alone. If you are ready for the birds and the bees, go for it! If not, you can still break it down for them in ways they can understand.

 

At five years old, kids are ready for a label, a definition, and an action plan:

 

“Pornography is pictures, videos, or words that describe or display private parts of people’s bodies like a woman’s breasts and vulva or a man’s penis. Reading or looking at pornography may make you feel good or excited or uncomfortable, or all of these things. Pornography is unhealthy for your brain, so if you see pornography, look away and tell Mom or Dad as soon as you can. If Mom and Dad aren’t there, tell a teacher or another grown-up.”

 

Your family media rules will also provide opportunities to talk to your kids about internet safety and the power of media.

 

Before you hand them an iPad:

 

“Hey bud, come out here while you play Minecraft. You should always have an adult with you while you’re online.”

 

Explaining media rules:

 

“Pictures, videos, and music can influence our thoughts and emotions, which in turn influence our beliefs and attitudes. That’s why we only allow media in our home that fits with our family’s standards.”

 

 

Turning off an inappropriate movie:

 

“We’re not going to watch any more of this movie because it makes X (drinking alcohol, promiscuity, smoking, being unkind to family members, racial prejudice) look cool. X is really very uncool– it’s bad for Y (our bodies, our families, our minds, society, etc.) because Z (it’s addictive, it causes cancer, it makes people feel unloved, it weakens families, etc.). I know you know X is not ok, but if we watch media that makes X look cool, over time, our brains get tricked into thinking that X really isn’t so bad.”

 

Keep things basic and concrete– anything too abstract will only confuse a five year old. Above all, keep the conversation comfortable and open! As your child grows, he or she will be ready for more information, and you will have laid a foundation by starting early.

 

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Pastor Nathan’s religious perspective: “What do you think God wants us to do to protect our families?”

This week’s video focuses on Pastor Nathan’s religious principles and why his faith in God motivates him to fight against pornography. If you are religious, or just curious about how religion and and the anti-pornography movement go hand in hand, check out his answer below!

 

 

Pornography erodes personal dignity, harms children and teens, and damages marriages– sometimes beyond repair. Click here to read more about the negative effects of pornography!

 

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4 ways to porn-proof young children (without shattering their innocence)

When do you need to start talking to your kids about pornography? According to internet safety experts, it needs to begin before your kids go online for the first time. Sounds reasonable, right? Maybe fifteen years ago, but thanks to tablets and mobile devices, most kids are using apps and streaming shows before their third birthday. Sure, you might begin explaining the basics of human reproduction to a three year old, but most parents aren’t ready to break down sexual violence, addiction, exploitation, and safe sex at this point.

 

Luckily, you CAN prepare your little children against pornography in an effective and age-appropriate manner. Here are four things you can do– and none of them involve a nitty-gritty sex talk.

 

1. Teach them to respect others’ personal boundaries

Pornography is intensely confusing because it blurs the line between consensual and non-consensual sex. Research indicates that pornography users are more likely to support violence against women and to sexually harass others. You might not be ready to talk to your child about sexual harassment, but you can teach him or her from toddlerhood to respect others’ bodies and boundaries. Have firm rules in your house that no means no, and if someone is not enjoying a certain activity, that form of play stops immediately. If your child develops these values, he or she will be able to recognize the unhealthy dynamics of pornography, no matter his or her age.

 

2. Respect THEIR personal boundaries

Here’s the flip side of respect– children need to have their bodies and boundaries respected as well, even if the activity seems harmless or someone’s feelings will be hurt. Pornography is tricky– it tries to create gray areas where boundary violations and abuse seem acceptable because of who did it or because the person whose wishes were ignored seemed ok afterwards. As a parent (or grandparent, or teacher, or caretaker), your job is to demonstrate their bodies and boundaries should ALWAYS be respected– no exceptions!

 

3.Watch TV with them

Media is unrealistic, and that’s often what makes it fun. Sometimes the fantastic aspects are obvious– dragons, Jedi, zombies, balloons that can lift a house. Other times, though, it’s less obvious– put-downs that don’t hurt feelings, inept adults, implausible romances. Kids need to consume media alongside parents or trusted adults to open a dialogue about what is real and what isn’t. This can prevent media of any kind, including pornography, from warping their developing expectations.

 

4.Kindness counts

This one’s simple: pornography shows everything except kindness. The higher value you place on kindness in your home, the less likely your children will be to perceive a lack of kindness as attractive. Gordon B. Hinckley, a prominent religious leader, once said that love “is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.” This is what pornography doesn’t show– and it is what children of any age desperately need to see.

 

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There’s a new Messenger app for tweens, and here’s what you need to know

Technically, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits websites from collecting information from kids under 13. This hasn’t stopped social media giants from trying to attract the tween crowd, though. Some turn a blind eye to underage accounts, some require nominal verification of parental approval. Most are filled with ads and marketing, much to the parents’ dismay.

 

The latest arrival to the tween social media scene is Kid Messenger, a messaging app developed by Facebook. Intended to be the kid sister of Facebook’s Messenger app, Kid Messenger allows kids to send and receive texts, pictures, and videos to and from a specific contact list created by the parent.

 

Here’s how it works:

 

You start by downloading the Kid Messenger app in the App Store (iOS) or the Amazon app store. As of right now, Kid Messenger is not available in Google Play.

 

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Then, log into an existing Facebook account.

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Enter the child’s name. Both first and last name are required, but it will accept initials in place of the full names.

 

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Parents see a brief rundown of how Messenger Kids works and must accept the terms and conditions to create the account.

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Your child is asked to take or upload a profile picture, then the account creation process is complete. The home page lists, you, the parent, as the only contact and the only person your child can communicate with through the app.

 

If your child wants to expand his contact list, he will click “Ask to Add a Contact,” and this message will appear:

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He will type in a name and click send. You will receive this message in your Messenger app:

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Click Find Contact, and you will be redirected to your Facebook account. The Facebook friends you frequently interact with will appear automatically with a blue “Add” button next to their names. Or, you can type a name into the search bar. Either way, click “Add” to add this person to their contact list.

 

You can also manage the Kids Messenger accounts linked to your Facebook account by selecting the Messenger Kids option from the Explore menu.

 

As far as options for your kid’s first social media platform, Kid Messenger is not a bad choice. Facebook seems to have thought of every potential safety concern. The level of parental involvement is unprecedented (to my knowledge, anyway), which will help parents’ peace of mind. If parents don’t feel comfortable putting their kid’s real name or picture on the app, the app seems willing to accept pseudonyms and more ambiguous profile pictures. Of course, a kid could sign up with a friend’s Facebook account, but it hardly seems worth the hassle involved when he could sign up for a SnapChat account within seconds. Some parents may worry about data mining, but that’s an inescapable problem with any online activity, and the app doesn’t require any verifiable personal information. Kid Messenger also contains no advertisements– a rarity in today’s online world!

 

If Kids Messenger satisfies kids’ desire to send funny pictures, it’s certainly better than Instagram or SnapChat. The most likely problem parents will encounter is kids wanting to move on to cooler apps.

 

Keeping your kids safe online is a full-time job– and you’re busy! Let us help!

 

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4 easy (and free!) things you can do to keep your kids safer online

Keeping your kids safe online doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Here are four easy and FREE things you can do to protect your family.

 

1. Kick all electronic devices out of bedrooms

If your kids are using the computer behind closed doors, it’s hard to where they go and what they do online. The illusion of privacy also can entice your kids into believing online misbehavior won’t have consequences. For both these reasons, the vast majority of family internet safety experts advise parents to keep all computers and mobile devices in common areas of the house.  If your kids know they could be interrupted at any time, they’ll think twice before they go looking for trouble online.

 

2. Check the browser history often

While this isn’t a silver bullet (kids can easily alter the browser history or use an incognito browser), it’s an important first step to keeping your kids safe online. Glancing through the websites visited on each computer, tablet, or smartphone will give you a basic idea of your kids’ browsing patterns. Keep an eye out for gaps in the history (like if you know your kid was on the computer  from 3pm to 5pm, but nothing is listed between 4:15pm and 4:30pm), late night or early morning browsing, or anything that seems odd or out of character for your kids. Furthermore, let your kids know you periodically check the browsing history. This will give you opportunities to talk to them about internet safety and give them added incentive to follow your family’s media rules.

 

3. Give the internet an early bedtime

Even if all electronic devices stay in the living room or kitchen, even the most frequented areas of your house become deserted at night. Use the parental controls on your kids’ devices to shut the internet down at a certain time, or simply turn off the router when you go to bed.

Bonus– your kids will sleep better, since the blue light from their devices won’t suppress the melatonin in their brains.

 

4. Password-protect all your devices

All computers and mobile devices come with the option to sign in with a password, and this barrier to entry can prevent everything from your baby changing your phone’s language to Arabic, your toddler finding disturbing videos on YouTube, to your tween surfing the web before she’s finished her chores. Furthermore, if the kids are home alone, then no one can be online!

Possible exception: If you’re one of the many families who do not have a landline phone, you may want to consider keeping one phone unlocked so your kids can call for help in case of an emergency.

 

If you liked these tips, check out our family internet safety live event here!

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Cyberbully or victim? Here’s what research says about kids who bully (or are bullied) online

Which kids will be bullied online? Which kids will become the bullies? According to this study, it all comes down to why they log into social media.

 

Researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Iowa examined data from 340 teens in a national survey. The teens had been asked about their social media habits, including why they use social media, if they’d ever been bullied online, or if they had ever bullied anyone else online.

 

The results were very interesting: the bullies and their victims were using social media for slightly different reasons. The bullies used social media for romantic relationships and social comparisons, but they were less likely to log on for information or entertainment. Their victims also used social media for romance and social comparison, but they were more likely than the bullies to use social media to have a community or place they belonged.

 

This study highlights two important lessons for parents. First, online dating is now a completely redundant term– teens are starting, developing, and ending their romantic relationships online as often as not, and all teen romances now have a digital component. Some relationships even take place entirely through smartphones. If your teenage daughter isn’t driving off to the movies every Friday night with a boyfriend, it does not preclude the possibility that she’s seeing someone.

 

Perhaps more significantly, however, is that there is overlap between the motivations between the cyberbullies and the cyberbullied. This makes perfect sense for the simple reason that they are often the same people. What too many people don’t realize about emotional pain is that it’s essentially a game of hot potato– hurting people hurt people. When people don’t cope with emotional pain, it explodes out of them.  Give a hurting teen a smartphone and the illusion of anonymity, and the temptation is too much to handle.

 

You can read the study by clicking here.

 

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The Belly Itch Blog Reviews Clean Router!

The Belly Itch Blog has reviewed Clean Router! Here are our favorite parts of the review:

 

“I have a few kids who are literally addicted to internet and an online gaming. This means, there is a struggle in my household to get them to focus on academics during the school week (and weekend); and I have to worry about them bumping into the bevvy of inappropriate, violent and sexually explicit content on the Internet.”

 

“Because the router blocks the content, kids can’t try to circumvent the content filer. Sweet! Another plus to a hardware-based system. And the reports are easy to understand to see what sites your kids tried to access but was blocked.”

 

“Also, there is NO limit for devices for Clean router where other services usually have a cap of 10. In large households and ones where each kid has 2 to 3 devices each, Clean Router’s unlimited option comes out on top once again.”

 

“Clean Router turns out to be a pretty good investment and worthwhile product to overwhelmed and hurried parents who move way slower than the technology the kids rely on in this day and age.”

 

With kids and devices becoming more inseparably connected every day, parents love Clean Router’s hardware based solution to online pornography and adult content. We recognize that most families have multiple devices (and sometimes multiple devices per person), so Clean Router will cover EVERY device in your home at no additional cost!

 

To read the full review, click here! Please note that the pricing information in this review is out of date. To view our current pricing models at any time, click here!

 

What do you love about Clean Router? Comment below!

 

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Teens are more likely to sexually harass if they watch porn, study says

In our national conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault, we’re leaving out an important factor– pornography. Research from multiple studies shows consumption of pornography is highly correlated with violence against women. For ethical reasons, it’s difficult to prove causation in studies, but this study shows that, for many teens, pornography consumption often predicts sexual harassment.

 

The study, published in academic journal Communication Research, surveyed almost one thousand young teenagers. 66% of the boys reported they had seen pornography in the last year at least once. Two years later, the boys who had seen pornography were more likely to have sexually harassed someone than the boys who had not seen pornography.  These boys also had less progressive gender role attitudes, more permissive attitudes about sex, and were more likely to be sexually active.

 

You can read more about the study here.

 

They say we are what we eat, but as members of modern society, we’re equally likely to become what we watch. Our brains are wired to pay attention to sexual imagery, and teens are already eager to learn about sex from whoever will teach them. In pornography, violence and degradation are made attractive, commitment is undesirable, and love is irrelevant. Obviously, this is not what we want our teenagers to be taught. Exposure to pornography at an early age shapes attitudes about gender, sexuality, and relationships for life!

 

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