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In an age where Internet addiction is a legitimate concern for the youth, the consumption of porn online is greater than ever. An insight into the cause and  effects of pornography addiction within the youth, by M. R. Pickard

You scream, I scream, we all scream for the Porn Queen! Congratulations ‘youth of today’, you are the first generation to be born into the internet porn phenomenon. You are educated, entertained, stimulated, de-stressed and reassured via the internet. Your modus operando for communication IS the internet. You are the first generation to have your brain wired by technology. As a child you were introduced to toy mobile phones and screens. As technology developed so did your brain and just like Miley Cyrus, as you got older, the Disney Channel just didn’t cut it anymore. When it comes to sex education, naturally you have turned to the internet and pornography. Why wouldn’t you? I have heard many mums and dads say, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of porn, sex is natural. And thank goodness for the internet, now I don’t have to have the ‘talk’ with my child. Well, on behalf of my generation, I apologise. But we are catching up on the seriousness of this issue.
Dr. Gomathi Sitharthan is a Senior Lecturer in behavioural health and social sciences at the University of Sydney.  She has written many papers on this issue. I asked her if there is more awareness now in 2015 as say in 2012. “Yes, there is more awareness and parents in particular are more interested in finding out how to / what is appropriate – when it comes to internet porn and excessive internet usage.”
Not by religious, political or feminist reasoning, but from an academic/scientific viewpoint, your future is at stake! The ‘sex education’ you have been exposed to through internet porn is recognised as an extremely serious problem. The addiction, untreated, could destroy your future happiness.

Who can become addicted to Internet porn?
Do you love an adrenalin rush? Have low self-esteem? Lack selfcontrol? Basically, anyone can become addicted.

Warning signs
It is difficult to tell as Dr. Sitharthan explains “Not everyone presents themselves for watching excessive porn. The usual presentations are: moody, lacking interest / low motivation / sneaky behaviours, etc.” According to a 2013 Stockholm Qualitative study titled “How Social Workers Assess Sexual Addiction Among Adolescents” by Mazanova and Nkauth pp 7,12, If you are masturbating more than seven times a week over a period of six or more months then you have an addiction. If you are more aroused using internet pornography then you are potentially addicted to internet porn.

Adolescence is crucial to the pornography industry
Your brain is rewired when you are an adolescent. In his review “Sex on the Brain – What Brain Plasticity Teaches About Internet Porn” Norman Doidge states that “The brain is far more like a muscle than we thought: it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain” Lately, numerous studies report that the rewiring of the brain is influenced by emotional rewards. “Neurons that fire together wire together” Doidge p33. The stronger wires form our ‘adult brain’.

So what if you are spending most of your adolescent time masturbating to internet pornography?  
Gary Wilson’s book and website “YOUR BRAIN ON PORN: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction” explain, dopamine (pleasure chemical) is at its highest level just before orgasm and also when we experience, anxiety, terror, suspense etc. Internet porn knows that and has produced a sophisticated design that moves faster than our brain can think. We are in information, stimulation overload.

Effects of internet porn addiction
• Guilt and shame. Where repeating the act, justifies the guilt and reassures that it is normal.
• As you get used to the pornographic images the dopamine levels in your brain drop. In order to regain that stimulation, your pornographic cravings become more and more perverse including self-harm, bestiality and child pornography.
• Desensitization.  You think degradation, pain and domination during sex is normal. You don’t care about the situations some of the actors are in either in or behind the scenes.
• Stunted social and emotional development. The more you crave porn the more other activities just don’t make the grade. You don’t experience the positive effect that a long lasting, loving relationship has on the brain.
• Impotence.  You can only “get off ” on pornographic videos.
• Girls involved in pornography are reinforcing the wiring that is keeping him mentally away from them and cementing a doomed relationship.
• Disassociation. You lose the feeling of being “in the moment” and the ability to truly know yourself and love another.

Can you kick the addiction?
Just like any other addiction it can be treated and healed. Thanks to neuroplasticity we now know that the brain can be rewired at any stage. Treatment places for adolescents in Australia include ’Headspace’, ‘Ted Noffs Foundation’ and ‘Fr. Chris
Riley’. I asked Dr. Sitharthan if there is anything else that she could recommend where adolescents can seek out help.
“There are a few good websites that deal with adolescents with regards to their addictions – mental health issues. These are not treatment sites, but they provide useful and up-to-date information; hopefully which can be used to motivate and promote self-change.”
The general consensus from many psychologists is that treatment is a complex, not one size fits all, situation. However it seems that the best results come from programmes like the 12 step programme created for Alcoholics Anonymous. Also, ask schools, universities, your local government and your doctor to recommend a good adolescent psychologist and get some sexual healing.

 

Volume 4 Issue 11