Goal Statement: The goal is to reduce Utah’s teenage pornography consumption by 25% through the implementation of an in-home program where parents and guardians can learn communication skills, teach their children about the risk factors and dangers of pornography addiction, and apply prevention strategies and protective measures in their own home.
Significant Findings: Pornography use is more prevalent now than at any other time in history. Much of this can be attributed to our cell phones and the 24-hour internet access we have at our fingertips which makes viewing sexually explicit material a few seconds away at all times. Utah was ranked number one in the nation for pornography subscriptions according to Edelman’s 2009 study with 25% of all search engine requests being pornographic. The population I’ve focused this prevention program on are youth in Utah County who are addicted to pornography. For children, pornography use is dangerous with serious risk factors that can include impacting brain development and functioning, contributing to emotional and medical illnesses, shaping deviant sexual arousal, increasing the odds of teenage pregnancy and prostitution, increasing conduct problems and delinquent behavior, and leading to difficulty in forming and maintaining intimate relationships (Brown and Wisco, 2019). Recommendations at the micro level include positive self-esteem and personal standards and values. Recommendations at the mezzo level include parents learning why their kids are turning to pornography, becoming more informed of the dangers of pornography, and putting into place safety measures and guidelines with internet use in their homes. Recommendations at the macro level include crafting laws that require pornographic websites to use age-verification measures to keep children off their platforms and electing representatives that aggressively address this public health crisis, pushing for policy changes that protect children from pornography.
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Research suggests that children are turning to pornography for sexual information because they are not able to get answers about sex from their parents (Healy-Cullin et al., 2021). In a community thick with religious culture a taboo approach to any sexual information can lead kids down dangerous roads of curiosity and finding answers from harmful resources like pornography. Understanding how to approach this sensitive topic can be culturally tricky in Utah County. Using communication theory and public marketing to address the public health crisis of pornography in Utah, would be a powerful and culturally acceptable way to share information on the risk factors of pornography addiction. Public health messaging can include commercials, billboards, social media campaigns, and email newsletters from trusted ecclesiastical leaders in the community. The strengthening family's program (SFP) is a universal family-focused prevention program that would be well received by this community as a protective measure to keep their kids away from the dangers of pornography addiction. Another existing evidence-based program that could be implemented for this target population is a recovery coach.