Children at risk of becoming ‘desensitised’ to online porn

Topic Selected: Sexualising Society

General Article icon Type: General Article

Some young people want to copy what they see in online porn – but they also said it doesn’t teach consent.

Our survey of more than 1,000 children aged 11–16 found that at least half had been exposed to online porn. Almost all (94%) of this group have seen it by age 14. We joined forces with the Children’s Commissioner for England to commission research by Middlesex University into the impact of online porn on young people, in the largest study of its kind.

Boys in particular wanted to copy some of the behaviour they had seen watching online porn. More than a third (39%) of 13- to 14-year-olds who responded to this question – and a fifth of 11- to 12-year-olds (21%) – wanted to do this. This was despite more than three quarters of respondents agreeing that pornography did not help them understand consent.

The survey revealed that young people are as likely to see online porn accidentally as they are to actively search for it,

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