Some young people tell us that they feel addicted to:
- the internet
- social media
- using their mobile phone
- looking at pornography
But what does being addicted mean?
Basically, it’s when we feel like we don’t have control over our behaviour. Behaviours that become addictive can make us feel good in the moment but they probably cause other problems in our life.
For example, if you spend loads of time looking at pornography you might end up not doing your school work or seeing enough of your friends.
Instead of focusing on whether you’re addicted to something or not, it might be more helpful to think about whether it’s a problem for you, and look for ways to tackle this.
Some people who use pornography feel like they can manage their behaviour and like it’s not causing them any trouble. But others may realise that their pornography use is becoming a problem.
There are some common signs that pornography use has become a problem. Being aware of the signs can help you to notice if your pornography use has become a problem and figure out when you need to get some support.
Here’s a list of possible signs that your pornography use may be turning into a problem.
- I often choose to watch pornography instead of going out with friends or doing other things I enjoy
- Other people have said they’re concerned about my pornography use
- I’m tempted to look for extreme or illegal material
- It’s starting to physically hurt when I masturbate
- I need pornography to feel turned on
- I get angry when I can’t look at pornography
- I need pornography to feel better or calm down
Do any of these statements apply to you? If so, it might mean that your pornography use is a problem, or that it could become a problem. But there are things you can do to change this.
If you’re still not sure whether your pornography use is a problem, maybe you could fill in a pornography diary for the next couple of weeks.
Use it to record:
- how much pornography you’re using
- when you’re using it
- why you’re using it
This can help you to work out what makes you look at pornography. For example, you might find that you’re more likely to use it when you’re upset or angry, or when you’re stressed about school.
The Reward Foundation
A UK charity that looks at the science behind sex, relationships and love. They share information about pornography and how it impacts our brain, our relationships and our physical and mental health.