Fox 17 Investigates: Teens, tech & pornography (Part 2)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
It used to be you'd have to find an adult's hidden Playboy magazine or be 18 to rent a porn video, but a recovering pornography addict explains how she stumbled upon it accidentally and got hooked.
“I was exposed to it, I was probably about 12 years old," a girl who Fox 17 is not identifying said. "Parents need to be involved and be aware that this is such a prevalent issue.”
Now, kids any age, from 5 to 10 10 15, have to work hard not to see porn and parents do too.
The Siegands run 'Parents Who Fight' teaching parents tangible ways to stop kids from seeing porn in the first place.
“The problem's only growing and we want to make sure our kids are safe," Jesse Siegand said.
Sarah Siegand said a lot of parents are asking themselves the same question. 'what can I do what can I do?'
The Siegands say repeated exposure to porn causes kids to eventually act and is leading to child on child sex abuse. One of the latest cases in the news is Brentwood Academy where middle school kids are being sued for rape.
“We had this situation blow up at one of our private schools and my take on this is I would be shocked if any 8th grader who commits a sexual crime is not looking at pornography," Sarah Siegand said.
Grundy County football players are also accused of sexually assaulting another player with a mop handle. Basketball players near Chattanooga accused of using a pool cue on a teammate. In short, repeated exposure to online porn normalizes behavior in a child's mind.
“They're getting information that is violent and they're not ready to know how to navigate that information and it's going into their minds and it's feeding something that shouldn't be awakened," Sarah Siegand said. "They're not mature enough to know how to process that graphic sexuality.”
"Fight The New Drug" finds 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls are exposed to porn before they turn 18. Most see it by age 11.
That's why one of many things 'Parents Who Fight' recommends is Covenant Eyes. It’s an online service that sends accountability reports of anything questionable your child clicks on.
"If you know Covenant Eyes or something like that. A monitoring app is on and they're going to get a report of anything you search for or you look at. It’s a deterrent," Jesse Siegand explained.
Also, you want to make sure restricted mode is set to ON for YouTube because people put links to porn in the YouTube comments section. If you see comments underneath a YouTube video, that means restricted mode is not on. You need to turn it on for all of your children’s devices. It's one more way the porn industry is preying on the next generation.
“There's a whole genre of YouTube videos that have beloved Disney characters and Super Heroes that are simulating sex acts and those things aren't marked as adult content," Sarah Siegand said.
The following organizations helped with this story and are great resources if you or someone you love needs help.