Pornography and Children: A Crying Shame

At the start of this year’s White Ribbon Against Pornography week, the American College of Pediatricians (The College) urges physicians to become aware of the dangers of pornography so they are prepared to counsel parents and adolescents on this topic. In its statement, The Impact of Pornography on Children, the College presents the results of a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on pornography. The growing societal acceptance of pornography is magnifying the harsh reality that children suffer many detrimental effects from it.

The consumption of pornography is associated with many negative outcomes: increased rates of depression, anxiety, violent behavior, early sexual debut and sexual promiscuity, higher rates of teen pregnancy and a distorted view of relationships. For married adults, pornography also results in an increased likelihood of divorce which, in turn, is harmful to children.

Author, L. David Perry, MD, states, “Pornography glorifies decontextualized sex. Its use by adolescents and young adults often leads to a distorted view of sexuality and its proper role in fostering healthy personal relationships.”

The College offers this statement as a resource to policymakers and the media whose decisions have a direct impact on our children and their families.