Parents urged to teach kids about sex to stop online porn addiction at home

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

One way to prevent youngsters from turning into pornography addicts is by strengthening family relationships and talking to them about sex, said Dennis M. Espique, broadcaster and social researcher for “The World Needs a Father Philippines”.

Dennis M. Espique

Espique, a father of three teenagers, delivered a talk on “Protecting Kids from Internet Pornography” during the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s National Digital Parenting Conference held at Novotel Manila in Quezon City on August 25.

Pornography or porn is the number 1 Internet addiction, followed by social media and gaming, according to the book “Digital Cocaine: A Journey Toward IBalance” by Brad Huddleston.

“Digital addiction has the same addictive component or mechanism as smoking, drinking, gambling or drugs,” Espique emphasized.“What’s alarming is that even teenagers or young people will go look at the [porn] sites,” he added.

A University of the Philippines study on young adult fertility and sexuality in the country conducted in 2013 found that 75.8% of the respondents were viewing porno videos and movies and visiting sites with sexually explicit content. The respondents totaled 19,178 males and females aged 15-24 from 17 regions of the Philippines

Meanwhile, statistics by Canadian porn video sharing website Pornhub indicate that people from the Philippines spend the longest time in the site. In 2017, Pornhub attracted an average of 81 million daily visits and 500 searches per minute.

According to Espique, strong family relationships help prevent the onset of porn addiction as these encourage kids to ask their parents about anything and their parents are always there to address their needs.

“I would do one-on-one talks with my kids,” he explained. “I would ask them how they are. I am very intentional asking my children whether they are looking at porn.”

Conversations with the kids should also include the topics of sex, love, and romantic relationships, and how to choose the right friends and values.

Porn addiction may also be addressed through digital detoxification by getting the kids to take regular breaks from gadget use after every 45 minutes or so.

He also suggested filtering their media diet but warned against using porno filters in devices because these can be hacked. “Filter what you [or they] watch,” he said. “The best filter is us.”

Another way to prevent kids from becoming porn addicts is by disallowing the use of gadgets in their bedroom especially at night. Espique shared that based on studies, porn viewing occurs between midnight and early morning. Sometimes, children accidentally stumble upon porn sites because of advertisements, pop-ups or because the parent subscribes to the site.

Porn addiction may also be prevented by turning off the Wi-Fi at nighttime and setting other rules.

Lastly, he reminded parents to get their youngsters to exercise regularly, eat and sleep right, and develop the family’s spiritual life to fight porn addiction.

Though the Philippine government has already blocked some porn sites, the country remains a global hub for child pornography, according to an article in The Economist.

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