Porn-key on laptop

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Online porn is a worry for our kids…

Access to pornography online is a real concern.
Recent news from CEOP and changes in government policy are encouraging steps in the right direction. But the problem persists.

What young people say about porn…


A report entitled “Basically… porn is everywhere,” was commissioned by the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England. The guiding questions for the enquiry were:
1. Identify and assess the existing evidence base on children and young people’s access and exposure to pornography.
2. Identify and assess the existing evidence base on the effects that access and exposure to pornography have on children and young people’s sexual expectations, attitudes and behaviours.
3. Draw upon existing literature reviews and meta-analyses on the associations between access and exposure to sexualised or violent visual imagery on children and young people.
To read and/or download the report, click the image above, or here.

What do we know about kids and porn?…

  • A significant proportion of children and young people are exposed to or access pornography – research findings are pretty consistent across studies, as well as across national boundaries. However, studies differ greatly as far as the regularity of exposure and access goes. One Swedish study found that only 16% of 16-24 year olds said they had been exposed frequently, 51% occasionally and 33% rarely.
  • Exposure is more prevalent than access – studies that make a distinction between exposure and access report that unwanted exposure appears to be more prevalent than deliberate access. That said, specific figures are unclear as they vary considerably between studies. Whilst unwanted exposure is more prevalent, a number of studies report significant numbers of children and young people accessing pornography.
  • Girls and boys are different in their exposure to and access of pornography – Exposure and access rates for male children and young people range from 83% to 100%. Rates for female children and young people are slightly lower at 45% to 80%. Young men and boys are more likely to seek, access and use pornography, and are exposed to or access it more frequently than young women and girls.
  • Exposure and access to pornography increase with age – increasing age seems to be an indicator of increased risk of exposure to pornography. One recent study found that older adolescents were four times more likely than the youngest children to have seen pornography online or offline across all forms of media. For males wanted and unwanted exposure increased with age. For girls only unwanted exposure increased with age.
  • Children and young people are exposed to and access both online and offline pornography – there have been some changes in the ways in which children and young people access pornography in recent years. The emphasis has moved from magazines, videos, television and books, to the internet. However, DVDs, films, magazines and television are still widespread. Mobile phones have moved from being a low point of access to being one of the main ones, over the last 5 or 6 years.

Final thought…

Some of these findings are predictable, others less so. One thing is clear though – that young people have much more easy access to pornography these days and are much more often exposed to it by others, even when they wouldn’t choose to.
Adults-all adults-have a responsibility to be aware of the realities and dangers of the times in which our children are growing up. What was once a chance finding of a tatty magazine in the park or under Dad’s bed, is now available in full colour, high resolution digital video, through a device in their back pocket…

What do you think?…

This is just a summary of the main findings in the report that can be said with certainty. As such they are somewhat predictable. To read the detail you can read or download the report here.
Please let me know what your thoughts are… Leave a comment below or click here.

Related previous posts…

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© Jonny Matthew 2013

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