Counselor: Average age for first viewing of pornography is 11-ye - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Counselor: Average age for first viewing of pornography is 11-years-old

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Between television, magazines, and Internet it might not surprise you that more and more of our youth have access to inappropriate images. Between television, magazines, and Internet it might not surprise you that more and more of our youth have access to inappropriate images.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Between television, magazines, and Internet it might not surprise you that more and more of our youth have access to inappropriate images.

But the age in which they discover them may shock you.

Dr. Shawn Scholten has been in the mental health field for over 20 years, but some statistics still shock her.

"The average age that a youth first views pornography is age 11, and that of course is an average, so there's some older, but there's also some younger," said Dr. Shawn Scholten, licensed mental health counselor.

Dr. Scholten says the most likely reason for this is easy access to pornography online.

Sometimes, Dr. Scholten says that viewing pornography can become an addiction.

It's a health issue that she says is becoming more and more common.

"It seems like it's very easy to get hooked and for it to become something that they need more and more, and then it becomes an addiction where they're very negative consequences of it," said Dr. Scholten.

According to Dr. Scholten, the addiction interrupts day to day living and can negatively affect friendships, school, work, and family life.

She says the best way to prevent the addiction, early education at home.

That's exactly what Susan Dykstra, a mother of four, is doing.

"Really getting at their hearts and talking to them about what they believe and what's out there and so that they know when they come upon it because we can't stop them from seeing it, but when they actually come upon it that they would know what to do with that kind of thing," said Susan Dykstra, mother.

A conversation Dykstra says is never too late to start having with your kids, especially if doing it, helps keep them safe.

"There's no bad time to start as long as they're alive and breathing, I think we can still work hard at building that trust in that relationship," said Dykstra.

Dr. Scholten says she's not only seeing an increase in the number of people with pornography addictions, the amount of females that view pornography is also rising.

She suggests those struggling with a pornography addiction seek a qualified licensed mental health counselor.

Besides talking to your kids, officials say there are things to watch out for if you think your child may be engaging in inappropriate activity online.

Warning signs include instances when a child minimizes windows or shuts the computer down suddenly, along with noticing a tendency for the child to isolate him or herself from the rest of the family.

The Sioux City Police Department says it's important to limit the time your kids spend online, check the computer's website history, and have access to their social media accounts.

The computer's location is also an important factor.

"We would recommend that you have the computer out in the open somewhere, either in the living room, a kitchen area somewhere, and have the screen facing the open area so that anybody can walk by and see what's on that screen," said Chad Sheehan, Sioux City Police.

The police department recommends an educational website that can help parents keep their kids safe.

The website is called "NetSmartz."

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