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Youth Exposure to Pornography Worldwide
Thursday April 7, 2011

 by Daniel Weiss

News accounts over the past decade report significant pornographic exposure for children around the world.

Australia – A study of 16- to 17-year-olds revealed that 73 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls have watched a pornographic video. Twenty percent of boys watch a video at least once a month.1

Canada – One study of teenagers with an average age of 14 found that 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls had watched pornography, with one-third of boys and 2 percent of girls doing so at least once a month.2

China – Chinese state media reports that nearly 70 percent of teenagers get their “sex information” from pornography.3

Ireland – Research by the National Centre for Technology and Education found that one-third of children have viewed pornography online, and one in four has gotten a sexual email. 4

Italy – A study of more than 800 adolescents ages 14-19 found that 67 percent of boys and 15 percent of girls have viewed a pornographic video.5

South Africa – A survey of more than 1,000 students ages 13-17 in three major cities found that 67 percent (84% of boys and 54% of girls) have seen a pornographic film. Forty-five percent report watching such films regularly.6

South Korea – A poll of 6,500 teenagers conducted by the National Statistical Office found that 83 percent of youth under the age of 18 have gone to online pornography websites more than once.7 A separate poll of more than 5,600 children under age 14 found that 28 percent said they had access to pornographic websites.8

Sweden – One study of youth ages 15-18 found that 92 percent of boys and 57 percent of girls had watched a pornographic film. A separate study found that 30 percent of adolescent boys and 3 percent of girls watch pornography at least once a week.9

The Netherlands – A study of 745 adolescents ages 13-18 found that 71 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls have been exposed to some form of online pornographic content in the previous six months.10

Thailand – Nearly three-quarters of youth (71%) ages 12-25 polled have visited a pornographic website at least once, with 45 percent claiming to be repeat visitors.11

United Kingdom – A survey of more than 1,500 youth ages 9-19 revealed that 57 percent of young people who go online at least once each week have been exposed to pornography online. Ten percent of all youth said they actively seek it.12

United States – Research shows that 73 percent of youth (93% of boys and 62% of girls) have seen online pornography before age 18.13  More than one-half of male youth Internet users ages 14 to 15 have been exposed to online pornography in the past year, as have more than two-thirds of those 16 to 17.14

See also:

The New Normal? -- Youth Exposure to Online Pornography

In the Bull's-Eye: Pornographers Target Children Online

Pornography in the Bedroom in a Digital Age

Daniel Weiss is ROCK's director of research and national outreach.

1 Michael Flood, “The extent of exposure to pornography among children and young people,” XYonline.net, Jul 11, 2009.
2 Flood, “The extent of exposure to pornography among children and young people,” XYonline.net, Jul 11, 2009.
3 “70 percent of Chinese teenagers get sex education from porn,” Agence France Presse, August 15, 2002.
4 Jenny McQuaile, “Third of Kids See Net Sex,” The Mirror, May 31, 2003.
5 Flood, “The extent of exposure to pornography among children and young people,” XYonline.net, Jul 11, 2009.
6 “67% of SA teens have watched porn,” The Times, May 13, 2008.
7 “Over 83% of Teenagers Visit Porn Web Sites,” Korea Times, May 1, 2003.
8 “More children have access to porn sites,” The Korea Herald, July 22, 2002.
9 Flood, “The extent of exposure to pornography among children and young people,” XYonline.net, Jul 11, 2009.
10 Jochen Peter, Patti M. Valkenburg, “Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet,” Communication Research, Vol. 33, No.2, 178-204, 2006.
11 “Survey shows Thai youth well versed in internet porn,” Xinhua News Agency, October 10, 2002.
12 “Kids Get an Eyeful Online,” eMarketer.com, July 23, 2004.
13 Chiara Sabina, Janis Wolak, David Finkelhor, “The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth,” CyberPsychology & Behavior. December 2008, 11(6): 691-693.
14 Janis Wolak, Kimberly Mitchell, and David Finkelhor, “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users,” PEDIATRICS, February 2007.

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