"I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it" The impact of online pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of children
The online world has created incredible opportunities for young people to explore, experiment, socialise, create and educate themselves in ways which were previously undreamt of. But it has also exposed children to the risk of harm, including seeing extreme pornography and sexting.
The research consisted of an online survey of 1001 children and young people aged 11-16 across the UK, an online discussion forum and online focus groups.
Authors: Elena Martellozzo, Andy Monaghan, Joanna R Adler, Julia Davidson, Rodolfo Leyva and Miranda AH Horvath
Published: 2016, revised May 2017
- Just over half of 11-16 year olds surveyed had never seen any pornography online.
- The majority of 11-12 year olds had not seen online pornography.
- Nearly two thirds of 15-16 year olds had seen online pornography.
Of those who had seen pornography online
- More boys view online pornography, through choice, than girls.
- Children were most likely to have seen pornography online for the first time accidentally because it “just popped up”.
- Substantial minorities of older children (13-14 and 15-16 year olds) wanted to try things out they had seen in pornography.
- A greater proportion of boys wanted to emulate pornography than girls.
Sending and receiving pornographic material
- Pornographic material had been received by around a quarter of young people.
- A minority of young people had generated naked or semi-naked images of themselves; some of them had shared the images further.
- Repeated viewing of online pornography may have a desensitising effect with young people feeling less negative over time and generally less anxious or disgusted by what they are seeing.
Young people’s perceptions of pornography
- Many young people saw pornography as unrealistic however some rated it positively.
- Young people wanted to be able to find out about sex and relationships and about pornography in ways that were safe, private and credible.
- Young people highlighted the need for materials that are age and gender appropriate. Some also touched on lack of teacher awareness of the potential additional vulnerabilities faced by young people who do not identify as either male or female in a binary manner.
|Foreword from the research commissioners||1|
|Authors’ preface to the revised report, May 2017 Acknowledgements||3|
|Table of contents||4|
|List of figures||5|
|List of tables||6|
|Objectives and methods||16|
|Young people’s feelings and attitudes about online pornography Risks and harms||32|
|Risks and harms||41|
|Young people as critical consumers||54|
Please cite as: Martellozzo, E., Monaghan, A., Adler, J.R., Davidson, J., Leyva, R. and Horvath, M.A.H. (2016) I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it. London: NSPCC
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