SPECIAL REPORT: These days Playboy can actually seem innocent compared to some of the things are kids are seeing. Young people are being inundated with racy photographs and videos, whether they are seeking it out or not. There’s cleavage on facebook, teen poll dancers on Youtube.com, sexting and of course, the ever so popular ChatRoulette .
“Thinking it would just connect us to like the store Pink, but it ended up being a porn site,” said one 12-year-old girl. “I was like, what is this, I just got scared and shut the computer,” her friend said. Most kids we talked to say, seeing nudity online is totally normal, and they just brush it off. But that’s exactly what concerns parents who worry when it comes to sex, kids are becoming desensitized. “I think it desensitized them because they make the body, I feel a lot of these sites you go on and you’re able to see the body is not a big deal and your body is not special, and it is special,” says a local mother.
So what are the long term consequences of viewing inappropriate images to the point that it becomes normal? Patrice Oppliger is the author of “Girls Gone Skank”, a book that looks at the sexualization of girls in American culture. “Girls normally play with their sexuality, but it’s gone too far, and it’s become skanky, not an attractive, but more of a dirty look to it. Skanky as opposed to sexy or sexual,” Opplinger says. She blames, in part, the internet, as well as magazines and movies, saying girls as young as 12, 13, and 14 are emulating the scantily clad women they see, believing if they dress and act like them, they will get the guy.
“A lot of young girls dancing in their underwear and slips, it’s sort of a wow, they’re so young and how did this become so commonplace and not shocking to them anymore,” Oppliger says. Besides issues with self esteem, other studies suggest initial curiosity can lead to problems with intimacy, or even worse, addiction. “Boys in particular that watch a whole lot of porn are beginning to think of sex as just another natural activity like eating and breathing, and that there is no relationship between having sex with someone and having an emotional, fond feeling for them,” says certified sex therapist, Dr. Aline Zoldbrod. She says you shouldn’t overreact if you discover your kids have come across inappropriate material, it’s likely normal curiosity and she emphasizes that only 4% of the kids who view online nudity will actually become addicted. How kids react to these images, she adds, is largely based on parenting style. “If you bring up a kin in a family where there is eye contact and love and empathy and if they know when something goes wrong they can come to you, that kid is not going to forget that lesson,” Zoldbrod says. So with the internet, magazines and music videos here to stay, experts say communication is key to having a well-adjusted kid.
READ AND COMMENT ON SARA'S BLOG:
Honestly, when you were growing up, how often did you come across a picture of a naked person that made you feel slightly uncomfortable?
Was it dad's Playboy magazine hidden under a stack of towels that you found in the powder room?
The point is...when I was a little girl it didn't happen very often. I was so modest, I thought National Geographic was even a little crazy.
Fast forward to 20-10 and kids these days are being inundated with nudity.
Just Google sex and see what you find. You don't have to be 18 either. You just have to be old enough to know how to turn on the computer.
While doing research for my story, I came across some pretty startling findings. A sergeant from the Norwood police department told me almost half of 5 and 6
year olds who have access to a computer have, at some point, come across inappropriate images that made them feel uncomfortable.
One 12 year old I talked to told me when she was only 9 years old, she Googled her name out of curiosity and up popped a porn site.
It worries me that young people are being exposed to so much nudity and sex at such a young age that it's becoming so "normal."
I wonder how it will effect them in the long run. Are we raising a generation of kids who are desensitized when it comes to sex?
When you consider the popularity of "sexting," and Chatroulette... it pretty much seems that way.
How do you feel about all of this?