HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Experts are warning families about a new drug threatening children. It is easily accessible and highly addictive.
They aren’t talking about opioids, they are talking about pornography. Some research shows the average age a child is exposed to pornography is 11. Other research shows the age is 9.
Nonprofit Fight the New Drug sends presenters around the world to talk at schools about the dangers. Garrett Jonsson spoke at Cresthill Middle School in Highlands Ranch.
“I was first exposed to pornography when I was 9,” Jonsson said.
He was hooked at an early age, progressing to need more and more.
“I couldn’t get over it,” he said.
Jonsson beat his addiction in his 20s, and now shares his story at schools across the country.
He hopes to educate students in an age-appropriate way about the harmful effects of pornography on their brain, their relationships and society.
“It’s very likely that that pornography is going to have some type of aggression or violence so then they start to associate intimacy and love with violence,” Jonsson said.
He meets separately with parents, explaining the importance of parental controls on their devices and routers, but he says parents need to help kids learn to make good decisions.
“The best protection we have found is education,” he said. “There are ways we can discuss this with our kids, and make it natural, and make it age appropriate, and do so frequently.”
Pornography is more accessible, affordable and anonymous than ever before, and the principal at Cresthill wants to tackle the subject head on.
“This is a reality in the lives of my 900 and some kids, and it just seemed to me to be irresponsible not to talk about it,” Sid Rundle said.
Many parents worry that talking about the subject will spark curiosity with their child, but this group suggests that providing facts and education is more effective than avoiding the subject.
Five states have already declared pornography a public health crisis.