Pornography & the Adolescent Brain


Pupils learn about the key drivers of the brain, its strengths and vulnerabilities, during adolescent development. They discover how best to build their own brain to be a more successful person.


This lesson on pornography and the adolescent brain is suitable for ages 11-18 years. What are the unique characteristics of the fantastic, plastic, adolescent brain? How does sexting and pornography influence sexual conditioning or programming? How can I shape my brain and behaviour to make me a more interesting, attractive and successful person? This is a diversity friendly lesson which does not show any pornography.

Of all activities on the internet, porn has the most potential to become addictive” says Dutch neuroscientists (Meerkerk et al. 2006). The Reward Foundation is accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners to run training on the impact of internet pornography on mental and physical health. Pupils learn about what motivates them and why sex is a number one focus from puberty onwards. They discover how best to build their own brain to be a successful person.

Class discussions

There is opportunity for discussion in pairs or small groups and for feedback as a class. The Teacher’s Guide provides you with all the information you need to deliver the lesson and enable you to speak confidently about the subjects raised. There are links to research papers where appropriate and signposting to other relevant websites.

Pornography & the Adolescent Brain is the second of our three lessons on Sexting. It can be taught as a stand-alone lesson or after Introduction to Sexting and before Sexting, the Law & You (tailored to the laws of Scotland or to the laws of England and Wales). See also the sexting and internet pornography superbundle.

We have worked with a range of experts including more than 20 teachers, lawyers, several police officers and ‘campus cops’, youth  leaders, psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists and many parents. We have piloted the lessons in over a dozen schools across the UK.

Resources: Pornography & the Adolescent Brain features a 28-slide PowerPoint (.pptx) and a 21-page Teacher’s Guide (.pdf). There are hot links to relevant research and further resources.

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