Study: Teens, Pornography and Sexting

First off, we’d like to say that we don’t think pornography overall is a bad thing. It’s a bad thing for young internet users but we’ll leave that up to parents to decide how young is too young. It’s bad in lots of circumstances but banning it altogether is not the answer.

sextingSexting isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, but it is bad in most cases for teens (and younger kids in all cases) and is illegal in most places.

As soon as your teen or tween has either internet access or a smartphone, him encountering porn either by seeking it out or accidentally is a real issue. According to a new UK survey titled “I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it…”, 28% of 11-12 year olds had viewed pornography. And the “accidentally” thing is real – more kids see online porn for the first time accidentally than by seeking it out on purpose.

The survey covers both pornography and sexting. If you’re the parent of a teen or tween with internet access YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOOK AT THE SURVEY HERE.

Normally, we’d take a bunch of other key stats out of the survey and give you our thoughts, but the study used a pretty small sample size for some of the questions so we don’t want to stick a stake in the ground around any one stat. Plus, depending on how the survey was conducted, we don’t think the kids would necessarily answer honestly. We suggest you look at the survey because if your teen has internet access, you should assume that he or she will see pornography, and may be or become involved in sexting, and you should be talking about it.

The topics are difficult ones, and if you’re having trouble getting started, here are some things to consider:

  • Pornography is unrealistic. Caution your kids that the real world doesn’t work that way.
  • Porn often degrades one of the partners, most often the woman.
  • Porn rarely reflects the practice of safe sex.
  • For parents of younger children, how do you want them to react if they accidentally encounter porn online? Have you told them that?
  • Sexting is becoming more mainstream in romantic relationships, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Even if consensual sexting, when discovered, isn’t prosecuted as often these days, it still can be.
  • Digital images can spread quickly, and are permanent.

There’s lots to talk about.



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