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Though I mentioned that I would suggest different ways on how to get your children to stop the habit of watching porn if you identified one in them. But I was quite surprised by the responses and comments on the previous article that I felt I should first be writing on why porn is bad for you and your children.

The responses were like, what is wrong if our children watch porn? Should we deny them from natural process? Isn’t it wrong to interfere in the privacy of our children? These were the exact questions and let me answer straight yes it is wrong to watch not only for our children but for us too.

Watching porns is absolutely not a natural process.

No. it is not wrong to know that your child’s internet behavior is especially when it is for the benefit of the child. These responses actually triggered the science teacher in me to explain the pros and cons of watching porn scientifically.

How porn is rewiring your brain and how short term pleasure can cause a long term damage.

Lets look at an example , What happens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat? First, you see a frenzy of copulation. Then, progressively, the male tires of that particular female. Even if she wants more, he has had enough. However, replace the original female with a fresh one, and the male immediately revives and gallantly struggles to fertilise her. You can repeat this process with fresh females until he is completely wiped out.

This is called the Coolidge effect—the automatic response to novel mates. It’s what might have started you down the road to getting hooked on Internet porn.

In the last couple of years sexual problems among young adults have increased and one of the factors attributed has been the widespread use of internet porn.  The specific numbers are unknown since it has been difficult to do a proper research.

Why we or children get addicted to porn?

Very simply put, addiction is the repetition of specific behavior that causes us to feel good. We feel good because we release certain hormones like dopamine. The more dopamine we release, the better we feel and chances of us wanting to repeat the same behavior. Dopamine feeds off novelty, meaning that novel and pleasurable experiences will cause our brains to release more dopamine than consecutive similar ones, to the point where we reach the Coolidge effect.(Please note that other and new research suggests that (drug) addiction is caused by a lack in our social environment rather than the addictive nature of the drug, this might explain why some individuals get addicted while others don’t).

Why is it bad ?

All addictions share the same constellation of brain changes

Desensitization — > the more porn you watch, the more you need to reach the same amounts of dopamine release.

Sensitization — > the more porn you watch, the more associations with porn you are going to make when facing stimuli which can induce these thoughts. The incognito browsing function in Google Chrome’s browser is invented to surf the web anonymously without leaving visible trace on your computer. If you are used to watching porn on a computer and are afraid of leaving traces, this is a perfect solution for that. While the initial idea is to surf anonymously, you will start making associations with watching porn. Due to the rewired nerve connections in the brain the reward circuitry gets stimulated with cues related to the addiction.

Hypofrontality — > Reduced impulse control and weakened ability to foresee consequences. The more porn you watch, the more difficult it will be to refrain from watching it and the less you will care about the consequences.

Dysfunctional stress circuits — > Chances of a relapse increase.  Dopamine works through the brains main stress area in a way that it increases the activity of the brain involved in addiction relapse. That is why often time’s addicts relapse during stressful periods in life.

These are just a few of the many brain changes the brain undergoes under the influence of an addiction. Research in this field is yet limited, as it is a quite new phenomenon. However, there is research which suggests that compulsive pornography users show the same brain activity as alcohol and drugs addicts.

The above mentioned were only brain changes, Now there are several other possible indirect effects of watching porns. Children who have not yet seen and experienced what it means to have a life partner, assume and set expectations about their partner watching the characters shown in these movies or clips which is nowhere close to reality. Which when not met set in frustrations and becomes a reason for them to decide incompatibility and incompetence of their partners and hence a ruined family life

 “The more one uses pornography, the more lonely one becomes,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. “Any time [a person] spends much time with the usual pornography usage cycle, it can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience.” The worse people feel about themselves, the more they seek comfort wherever they can get it.

Normally, they would be able to rely on the people closest to them to help them through their hard times—a partner, friend, or family member. But most porn users aren’t exactly excited to tell anyone about their porn habits, least of all their partner. So they turn to the easiest source of “comfort” available: more porn.

Study after study has shown that porn viewers are less stable in their relationships and have higher rates of infidelity and divorce. They are also less committed to their partners less satisfied in their relationships, and more cynical about marriage, love, and relationships in general. All of those factors can gradually eat away at the love, trust, and mutual respect at the core of any relationship.

All of these issues show why we’re raising awareness and shining a light on the immense, measurable harms of porn. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that porn is harmless entertainment that has no effect on individuals or society. Get educated and fight against an industry that is tangibly harming individuals, relationships, and society. We and our children deserve better than what porn has to offer. We deserve real love, untainted by the toxicity of pornography. 

(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)