Floyd Godfrey, PhD


The Psychological Impacts of Internet Pornography Addiction on Adolescents

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

Internet pornography addiction is an increasingly prevalent issue among adolescents, posing significant psychological challenges that require immediate attention from parents, educators, and mental health professionals. A study by Setyawati, Hartini, and Suryanto (2020) offers valuable insights into the multifaceted impacts of this addiction on young minds, highlighting the urgent need for preventive measures and effective interventions. This also speaks to the importance of finding help for porn addiction.

Psychological Distress and Emotional Dysregulation

The study reveals that adolescents addicted to internet pornography often experience heightened levels of psychological distress and emotional dysregulation. This distress manifests in various forms, including anxiety, depression, and irritability. The constant exposure to explicit content can distort an adolescent’s perception of healthy relationships and self-worth, leading to a cycle of negative emotions and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The authors note that these emotional disturbances can severely impair daily functioning and academic performance, further exacerbating the adolescent’s mental health challenges (Setyawati et al., 2020).

Impaired Social Relationships

Internet pornography addiction also adversely affects adolescents' social relationships. The study indicates that addicted adolescents often exhibit withdrawal from social interactions, preferring isolation over engagement with peers and family. This withdrawal stems from feelings of shame and guilt associated with their addiction, which can lead to a diminished sense of belonging and increased loneliness. Setyawati et al. (2020) emphasize that this social isolation can hinder the development of crucial interpersonal skills, making it difficult for adolescents to form and maintain healthy relationships.

Cognitive Impairments and Academic Challenges

Cognitive impairments are another significant consequence of internet pornography addiction in adolescents. The constant consumption of explicit material can disrupt concentration, memory, and executive functioning, essential for academic success. The study highlights that adolescents addicted to pornography often struggle with maintaining attention in class, completing assignments, and performing well in exams. These academic challenges can create a sense of hopelessness and decrease motivation, further entrenching the adolescent in their addictive behaviors (Setyawati et al., 2020).

Development of Maladaptive Sexual Attitudes

The study also explores the development of maladaptive sexual attitudes as a result of internet pornography addiction. Adolescents exposed to explicit content at a young age may develop unrealistic and unhealthy views of sex and relationships. These distorted perceptions can lead to risky sexual behaviors and a lack of understanding of consent and mutual respect in intimate relationships. Setyawati et al. (2020) argue that this early exposure can have long-term implications, influencing the adolescent's sexual attitudes and behaviors well into adulthood.

Help for Porn Addiction and Preventive Measures

Addressing the psychological impacts of internet pornography addiction on adolescents requires a multifaceted approach. The authors suggest that parents and educators play a crucial role in monitoring and regulating internet use, providing age-appropriate education on the risks of pornography, and fostering open communication about sexual health. Mental health professionals should be equipped to identify signs of addiction and offer tailored interventions that address the unique needs of adolescents. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy are recommended as effective strategies for helping adolescents overcome addiction and develop healthier coping mechanisms (Setyawati et al., 2020).


The psychological impacts of internet pornography addiction on adolescents are profound and multifaceted, affecting emotional well-being, social relationships, cognitive functioning, and sexual attitudes. As highlighted by Setyawati, Hartini, and Suryanto (2020), it is imperative to implement preventive measures and provide comprehensive support to adolescents struggling with this addiction. By addressing this issue with empathy and proactive strategies, we can help adolescents build a foundation for healthy development and a brighter future.


For those working with adolescents, remember that your support and guidance can make a significant difference in their lives. Encourage open discussions about the challenges they face and offer a safe space for them to express their feelings and concerns. Together, we can help them navigate these difficulties and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey, PhD please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com


Setyawati, R., Hartini, N., & Suryanto, S. (2020). The psychological impacts of internet pornography addiction on adolescents. Humaniora, 11(3), 235–244. https://doi.org/10.21512/humaniora.v11i3.6682

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