Teens & Porn in Britain

Katherine Sellgren of the BBC reported on a study conducted by Middlesex University in the UK, highlighting the prevalence of exposure to porn among 11-16 year old children.

The study involved 1001 children.  Over half (53%) had been exposed to pornography and of these 945 had seen the material by the age of 14. It a highlighted that many of the young people had been initially exposed to porn inadvertently, often through pop-up advertisements.  60% of first exposure happened at home, and 29% happened at the house of a friend.

The study also looked at sexual attitudes of these young people, and found that 14% had taken naked or semi-naked photos of themselves.  They found that over half of the boys surveyed believed that porn gave a realistic depiction of sex.

Sellgren also note the concerns of young girls.  She quotes one of the lead researchers in the study, who noted the way in which porn gives boys unrealistic expectations of sex. She also said:

Girls too may feel pressured to live up to these unrealistic, and perhaps non-consensual, interpretations of sex.

The study also stresses the need for ongoing sex and relationship education.  Perhaps we need to stop thinking about sex education as having 'the talk' and then being done with it.  This calls for the need for continued appropriate education from an early age, as well as engaged parents and policy makers to play their vital part in helping young people think carefully about their online and real-world behaviour.