April 30, 2019

Porn Addiction Led Teen to Become a Registered Sex Offender Before His First Kiss

A registered sex offender before his first kiss.

While this might sound impossible, this is sadly the case for “Jamie,” a thirteen-year-old boy found in possession of child pornography via a police raid. Jamie’s parents were completely unaware of their son’s escalating pornography addiction over the previous three years.

What had begun as friends showing him ‘funny pictures’ at a sleepover had spiraled into an uncontrollable addiction. As Jamie explained, “The websites led me to other websites and soon I was looking at even weirder stuff I could never have imagined-animals, children, stabbing and strangling.” The desire to seek more and more hardcore images in order to receive the same reaction, or the Coolidge effect, is common across porn addicts.

Social Isolation

Jamie’s porn addiction resulted in increasing social isolation; “I stopped leaving my room and seeing my friends because when I was away from pornography, I was dying to get back to see what else I could find.” This issue was only compounded by the shame that he felt after his placement on the National Sex Offender Registry. Jamie describes feeling as though his shame “is written across my forehead.” Jamie’s isolation has also led him to believe he will never be able to form normal intimate relationships, he reports, “It still makes me think I might never have a proper girlfriend-because the pictures still come back to me sometimes.”

Voyeurism

Another patient of Wood’s (the psychotherapist who treated Jamie), ‘Jude’ (18), expressed the same concern of not being able to develop relationships due to pornography addiction, however, his fears have spiraled into voyeurism. Due to the detached nature of pornography, research has shown that pornography viewership is positively associated with voyeuristic behaviors. Jude has disturbingly taken to following women late at night and defends that if he were to stop viewing pornography  he would only be more at risk of harming them, in accordance with common rape myths

Learned Behaviors

Pornography has become increasingly violent to retain the shock factor despite its easy accessibility. Woods describes, “This contest to push the boundaries means that straight intercourse is considered too boring. Images of brutal anal sex and women being humiliated and degraded by two or more men at any one time are the new norms.” With the increase of violence in pornography, violent behaviors follow suit. One study has shown that youth who intentionally watch explicit material were around 6 times more likely to display sexually aggressive behaviors. Another study of over 4,000 high school students in Sweden found that 97.8% of them had viewed pornography at some point in their childhood and that out of frequent viewers, approximately 70% expressed interest in acting out what they had seen.

These cases are happening on a much wider scope than many are aware of. John Woods reported more than 50 referrals for children under 18 suffering from similar problems at his North London clinic alone during the last year. In the United States, the Associated Press reported 17,000 official cases of sexual assault by students in K-12 schools from 2011-2015. As the pornography industry grows, so does the problem. A BBC study has found that reports of sexual offences committed by minors rose 71% from 2013-2014 to 2016-2017. This danger is likely far bigger than what we can even estimate, with Wood’s explainingFor every young person who has come to the attention of police or social services, there will be tens of thousands more who manage to keep their habit under wraps-but who still face long-term consequences for their mental and emotional health.”

If you are interested in learning more about the alarming phenomenon of child pornography addictions and child on child sexual assault, visit our webpage.

You can also register to attend our 2019 Child on Child Symposium, in person to get involved.

Tiffany Powell

Intern

Tiffany Powell is a senior at Brigham Young University studying Public Health with an emphasis in promotion. She is hoping to pursue a masters degree in Physicians Assistant Studies. She hopes to combine her aspirations by focusing on women’s and children’s health and continuing to work with advocacy groups of the same nature. Advocating for vulnerable populations has always been a passion of hers that she hopes to involve in all areas of her life. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, skiing and visiting museums.

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