Porn addiction does not exist. It is not a recognized type of addiction in psychology. When children say that they are afraid of becoming “addicted” to porn, they are likely voicing a normal curiosity about sex due to puberty. This curiosity should not be framed pathological. In many cases, children do not receive comprehensive sex education. Hence, porn becomes the only available tool for them to learn about sex.
Besides, the theory and research behind ‘pornography addiction’ is flawed. Such research has poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification. A 2014 study demonstrated that visual sexual stimuli (VSS) fail to meet standards of addiction. The researchers claim that proposed adverse effects (including erectile problems, difficulty regulating sexual feelings, and neuroadaptations) are non-pathological evidence of learning. Reports of “addictive” use of VSS should be interpreted by considering gender, sexual orientation, libido, and religiosity.
Another recent study conducted by UCLA neuroscientists supports the argument that porn addiction does not exist. In the study, people who struggled with porn consumption viewed sexual images. The results showed that, unlike addicted people, they did not display a specific spike in brain activity. Their brain response decreased when viewing porn.
Since porn addiction does not exist, children do not have the potential to become addicted to pornography. We should not interpret children’s curiosity for sex as pathological.