PORN SCHOOL; Up at Six for Breakfast and Chores, Hours of Therapy, Lie Detector Tests, No Personal Computers or Phones. the U.S. Cure for Kids Addicted to Online Sex That's Heading Here

Sunday Mirror (London, England), June 17, 2012 | Go to article overview

PORN SCHOOL; Up at Six for Breakfast and Chores, Hours of Therapy, Lie Detector Tests, No Personal Computers or Phones. the U.S. Cure for Kids Addicted to Online Sex That's Heading Here


Byline: ANNETTE WITHERIDGE; DEIRDRE O'BRIEN

IN a converted church in the backwaters of America lies a special school for children hooked on internet porn.

Within its walls, young boys are weaned off their addiction boot-camp style with daily chores, hours of therapy, lie detector tests and a ban on phones and computers.

Some call it Porn School - and it could become the model for the way Britain tackles its own wave of young online addiction.

Last week Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz revealed the disturbing impact the websites were having on impressionable youngsters.

She said children in "every town, village and hamlet" are being exposed to graphic sexual material on home computers and mobile phones.

The effect is warping their minds and leading some to commit violent sex attacks, often as part of gangs.

The problem is already rife in the US. Porn School - or Oxbow Academy to give it its official title - opened in Wales, Utah, seven years ago.

Set among abandoned shops and run-down homes, it's one of a handful of centres treating teenage sexual behavioural problems.

Despairing parents spend pounds 5,700 a month to get their sex-obsessed children's heads sorted out here. The alternative is to see them sent to a juvenile detention centre.

Oxbow is currently home to 24 boys aged 13 to 17. School director Stephen Schultz says some of the boys have gone on from obsessive porn addiction to acting out scenes in real life and molesting other kids.

Others have been arrested and are awaiting sentencing.

Stephen likens porn addiction to heroin abuse. "Most porn addicts get agitated when they're deprived of their online sources," he said.

"But one boy from Chicago actually got the shakes, like a drug abuser. He was in very poor shape when he arrived. He'd been on his computer 10 to 12 hours a day looking at porn. He wasn't eating, he was dehydrated, had poor hygiene. He'd done nothing but watch porn."

The cure lies in a strict daily routine.

The Oxbow day begins at 6am when the boys clamber out of their bunk beds and head for the showers.

THERAPY Breakfast is served in the rustic dining room. There are full-time catering staff, but the boys wash up. At weekends they do their own laundry.

Mornings are devoted to therapy.

Parents are required to join in via Skype once a week and are also invited to twoday seminars every few months. After lunch it's time for holistic therapy, which includes horsemanship, art and music. The boys jump into minibuses to get to a second campus.

The school day proper begins at 3pm in log cabin classrooms. With a slew of qualified high school teachers on the staff, the teenagers do the same lessons they would anywhere else.

Every pupil has access to a computer to work on, but the internet is limited to just encyclopedia pages.

Classes end at 9pm and the teens have an hour to lounge around the communal meeting room.

Like ordinary school, there is homework at weekends. The boys are also given therapy assignments to help them address their sexual issues. There's also time to play sports or go horse riding.

The minimum stay is three months.

Most remain a year but some have finished their high school education here. Mr Schultz said: "Teenagers who have indulged in inappropriate sexual behav-iour have a sense of shame and will not admit everything they've done.

"The teenager holds his cards close to his chest. Over the first 90 days we get them to start putting those cards on the table.

They go through intensive individual, family and group therapy. Part of their course work is a full sexual disclosure paper - a big questionnaire asking about everything they have done. They start to open up more and more.

"If they disclose something criminal, such as touching a neighbour's child, we have to report that to the state where the offence was committed. …

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