Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Gaslighting, Teenage Boys, and Pornography Addiction: A Guide for Parents

By Floyd Godfrey


In the digital age, pornography addiction has become an increasingly prevalent issue among teenagers, particularly boys. This addiction often remains hidden, cloaked in secrecy and deception, with gaslighting being a common tactic used by teens to keep their parents in the dark. Understanding the signs of this addiction and the specific ways in which teenage boys may gaslight their parents is crucial for early intervention and support.

Recognizing the Signs of Pornography Addiction

Pornography addiction in teenagers can manifest in various ways, including but not limited to:

  • Increased secrecy about online activities, such as quickly changing screens or becoming defensive when asked about their internet usage.
  • Changes in behavior, such as increased irritability, mood swings, or withdrawal from family and social activities.
  • Unexplained changes in sleep patterns, including staying up late or exhibiting signs of sleep deprivation.
  • Use of gaslighting tactics to deflect concern, such as denying excessive internet use, minimizing the addiction, or blaming parents for being overly suspicious.

The Gaslighting Tactics of Teenage Boys

Teenage boys might use several gaslighting tactics to hide their pornography addiction, including:

  • Denial of the behavior when confronted, insisting they are not doing anything wrong.
  • Discrediting the parent's concerns by suggesting they are overreacting or misinterpreting the situation.
  • Manipulating emotions to make the parent feel guilty for questioning them, thereby shifting the focus away from the addiction itself.

Understanding the Scope of the Problem

Research indicates that a significant percentage of teenage boys are exposed to pornography, with varying degrees of frequency and impact. Studies suggest that exposure can start between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, with a considerable number developing habits that could lead to addiction. While exact percentages may vary, the ubiquity of internet access implies that a substantial portion of the teenage population is at risk.

Pathways to Recovery

The journey towards recovery from pornography addiction, while challenging, is filled with hope. It involves recognizing the problem, seeking professional help, and establishing a supportive network. Recovery strategies may include therapy, education on the impacts of addiction, and developing healthier coping mechanisms.


The issue of pornography addiction and the use of gaslighting by teenage boys to hide their struggles is a complex challenge for many parents. However, by staying informed and vigilant, parents can offer the understanding and support their children need to overcome this addiction. Recovery is not only possible but probable, with the right interventions and a supportive environment.

Floyd Godfrey is a clinical sexologist who has been guiding clients since 2000 who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction. For more information on his services, please visit www.FloydGodfrey.com.


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