According to a report released by the Children and Family Research Center, exposure to pornography before the age of six is linked to negative impacts on early childhood development.
“If a child views pornography too early in his or her sexual development, they could be confused or traumatized by this event,” said Catherine Fisher, a childhood development specialist at Wayne State University. “Additionally, such an early exposure may cause the child to develop atypical sexual preferences later in life, such as pedophilia, rape fantasies, or trying to talk their significant others into butt stuff.”
These results have surprised some, as before now many were unaware of how pornography could possibly be bad for developing children. Says one study participant’s mother, “the results really were quite alarming. Up to this point, I wasn’t really that worried when Liam would pull up a naughty website and start ‘discovering’ himself. But after my five-year-old son started browsing Pornhub, he began asking us questions we weren’t prepared to answer.”
Added the mother, “literally, I was not prepared to answer what a ‘pink sock’ was when he asked me to explain what he had just seen.”
Other parents are less concerned by the results of the study. One participant’s father stated, “while I’m not crazy about letting my son watch videos entitled ‘Busty Teen DP’d at Costco,’ it’s probably better that he learns about sex under our own roof where I can put what he’s watching in proper context.”
The Children and Family Research Center hopes that this research will help bring to light the issues involving young children and pornography. Spokespersons say they realize it is inevitable that some children will watch pornography, but believe that the results may start a positive trend and “at least encourage the promotion of safer categories such as softcore porn for children.”
“Ultimately, it’s not for us to make normative judgments about what children should be watching. Instead, we should be trying to make pornography a learning experience rather than a damaging or traumatic one,” said Dr. Francis Devlin, director of the study. “It’s certainly better than the way we learned about sex when I was a kid, by practicing with my friend Kevin’s sister.”