Monday 23 October 2017

Boys as young as nine struggling to cope with 'tsunami of porn'

Lynne Kelleher

Children are viewing online pornography at just nine or 10 years of age – and a new study has shown that their shocked parents have no idea how to control what their youngsters are seeing.

A new RTE documentary 'Generation Sex' last night investigated the fallout from the easy accessibility of graphic sexual images and hardcore pornography at the click of a button.

Professor Bryan Roche of NUI Maynooth said that young people were struggling to cope with the tsunami of sexual images in day-to-day life.

He said: "The problem with the internet is it is absolutely instantaneous and now, with the advent of WiFi in everybody's phone and in public places and with phones in their pocket that have internet access, it means you don't have to wait.

"That moves the relationship with pornography into a more problematic level and basically raises the risk somewhat because it basically harbours and facilitates almost compulsive behaviour with no downside.

Psychotherapist and chairperson of the Family Therapy Association of Ireland Trish Murphy said boys as young as nine or 10 were now viewing pornography in their kitchen while doing their homework.

"Parents are still shocked at how young this can happen. It happens in the living room or in the kitchen while doing homework.

"This is not secret or hidden in their bedroom and the difficulties they experience is that they have nobody to talk to. It is happening pre-puberty and it can be very confusing."

The in-depth TV investigation carried out by counselling psychologist Deborah Mulvany also revealed how new studies shows Ireland is on par with the rest of Europe when it comes to viewing pornography.

The documentary reveals that many young Irish people are struggling with problems relating to intimacy and sex that are dramatically different from previous generations because of the readily available graphic sexual imagery.

The chairperson of the Family Therapy Association of Ireland, Trish Murphy, said: "I think it is having a huge effect. Boys and girls can be critical of their own bodies and they can expect more of themselves sexually.

"Porn can also be highly addictive. We need to offer support in national school and to educate parents about what is happening, so kids can have somebody to talk to about it."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News