Is Porn Bad for Kids?

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Is Porn Bad for Kids?
Child Abuse Prevention Month
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Guest Post by Annie Gardiner

I remember the first time I found a Playboy magazine. Wide-eyed, I turned the pages feeling both nervous and excited.
Teens look at porn out of curiosity, for stimulation, or to impress friends. It’s entirely normal for children to be interested in sex and viewing images is one way teens, particularly post-pubescent males, satisfy their sexual curiosity and urges.
But is online porn different?
I can say without hesitation that looking at an occasional Playboy or Penthouse as a teen didn’t harm me.  But today, in the world of online porn, it’s a whole other ball game.
Online porn comes in flavors that are detrimental. The prevalence of violent and illegal images is mind boggling, and these pictures send inappropriate and unrealistic messages about sex, sexuality, and gender roles. With millions of demeaning porn images swirling about the Internet, what are teens and young adults learning about what it means to be a sexual partner and what it means to have a consensual and respectful relationship?
I’m a realist, and I understand curiosity about sex is normal and teens will continue to view porn online, so perhaps the best question is, what are parents doing? 
According to some adolescent therapists, parents are sort of surprised to realize that their teen has become a sexual being and that parents aren’t sure how to navigate a conversation about pornography and healthy sexuality.
What do you think? What kinds of conversations are you having with your children / teens about online porn?
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please share this post.
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