Overview

Impact of pornography on adolescents:

  • Harm to Young Brains: A survey of 813 U.S. teens and young adults (13–25), found that 26% of adolescents aged 13–17 actively seek out pornography weekly or more often.[i] Research has demonstrated that children are more susceptible than adults to addictions and to developmental effects on the brain.[ii]

 

  • Emotional Bond with Caregivers: A nationally representative survey of youth ages 9–17 reported that online pornography users were significantly more likely to report a poor emotional bond with their caregiver, than adolescents who viewed pornography offline or not at all.[iii]

 

  • Women as Sex Objects: Internet pornography is shown to normalize the notion that women are sex objects among both adolescent boys and girls.[iv]

 

  • Sexual Uncertainty and Casual Sexual Exploration: More frequent use of sexually explicit Internet material is shown to foster greater sexual uncertainty in the formation of sexual beliefs and values, as well as a shift away from sexual permissiveness with affection to attitudes supportive of uncommitted sexual exploration.[v]

 

  • Sending Sexually Explicit Images: A survey of 4,564 adolescents aged 14–17 in five European countries, found that viewing Internet pornography is significantly associated with an increased probability of having sent sexual images and messages (sexting) among boys.[vi] A survey of 617 college freshman found that 30% of participants sent nude pictures at some time during high school; 45% had received nude pictures on their cell phones. The most important motivation for sexting was coercion such as blackmail or threats. About half of all sexting may be coercive.[vii]

 

  • Risky Sexual Behaviors: Internet pornography use is linked to increases in problematic sexual activity at younger ages, and a greater likelihood of engaging risky sexual behavior, such as hookups, multiple sex partners, anal sex, group sex, and using substances during sex as young adolescents.[viii] A recent UK survey found that 44% of males aged 11–16 who viewed pornography reported that online pornography gave them ideas about the type of sex they wanted to try out.[ix]

 

  • Physical and Sexual Victimization: A nationally representative survey of pornography use among youth aged 9–17, found that those with increased exposure to Internet pornography were significantly more likely to report physical and sexual victimization.[x]

 

  • Associated with Adolescent Delinquency and Criminal Behavior: In a meta-analysis of eight studies, male adolescent sex offenders reported more exposure to sex or pornography than non-sex offenders.[xi] A study of sexually reactive children and adolescents (SRCAs) found that those who used pornography compared to those who did not use pornography were more likely to engage in a prominent pattern of lying, a persistent pattern of theft/stealing, to be truant, to frequently con/manipulate others, to engage in arson/fire setting behaviors, to engage in coerced vaginal penetration and forced sexual acts such as oral or digital penetration, to express sexually aggressive remarks (obscenities), and to engage in sex with animals.[xii] Other research also demonstrates an association between pornography consumption and adolescent delinquent behavior.[xiii]

 

  • Higher Usage Rates: Research has found that among males the younger their age of first exposure to pornography, the higher their current consumption of pornography, as well as their greater integration of pornography into sexual activity, and less enjoyment of partnered sex.[xiv]

 

  • Future Use of Deviant Pornography: A 2013 survey of a general population of Internet pornography users revealed that those who intentionally sought pornography at a younger age were significantly more likely to be users of pornography exhibiting the sexual abuse of animals and children.[xv]

[i] Barna Group, The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age, (Ventura, CA: Josh McDowell Ministry, 2016).

[ii] Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guild to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, (New York: Harper Collins, 2015); Tamara L. Doremus-Fitzwater, Elena I. Varlinskaya, and Linda P. Spear, “Motivational Systems in Adolescence: Possible Implications for Age Differences in Substance Abuse and Other Risk-Taking Behaviors,” Brain and Cognition 71, no. 1 (2010):114–123.

[iii] Michele L. Ybarra and Kimberly Mitchell, “Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey,” CyberPsychology & Behavior 8, no. 5 (2005): 473–486.

[iv] Jochen Peter and Patti Valkenburg, “Adolescent’s Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects,” Sex Roles 56 (2007): 381-395; Jane D. Brown and Kelly L. L’Engle, “X-Rated: Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with U.S. Early Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Media,” Communication Research 36, no. 1 (February 2009): 129-151.

[v] Jochen Peter and Patti M. Valkenburg, “Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material, Sexual Uncertainty, and Attitudes toward Uncommitted Sexual Exploration, Is There a Link?” Communications Research 35, no. 5 (2008): 579–601.

[vi] Nicky Stanley, Christine Barter, Marsha Wood, Nadia Aghtaie, Cath Larkins, Alba Lanau, and Carolina Ӧverlien, “Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Abuse and Sexting in Young People’s Intimate Relationships: A European Study,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2016): 1–26.

[vii] Elizabeth Englander, Low Risk Associated with Most Teenage Sexting: A Study of 617 18-Year-Olds, (Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, 2012).

[viii] Debra K. Braun-Courville and Mary Rojas, “Exposure to Sexually Explicit Web Sites and Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors,” Journal of Adolescent Health 45 (2009): 156–162; Peter and Valkenburg (2007); C. Marston and R. Lewis, “Anal Heterosex Among Young People and Implications for Health Promotion: A Qualitative Study in the UK,” BJM Open 4 (February 4, 2016): 1–6; Emily R. Rothman, Michele R. Decker, Elizabeth Miller, Elizabeth Reed, Anita Raj, and Jay G. Silverman, “Multi-Person Sex among a Sample of Adolescent Female Urban Health Clinic Patients,” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 89, no. 1 (2011): 129–137; E. Häggström-Nordin, U. Hanson, and T. Tydén, “Association between Pornography Consumption and Sexual Practices among Adolescents in Sweden,” International Journal of STD & AIDS 16 (2005): 102–107; Svedin, ibid.

[ix] Elena Martellozzo, Andy Monaghan, Joanna R. Adler, Julia Davidson, Rodolfo Leyva, and Miranda A.H. Horvath, “‘I Wasn’t Sure It Was Normal To Watch It . . .’ A Quantitative and Qualitative Examination of the Impact of Online Pornography on the Values, Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviours of Children and Young People,” London: Middlesex University (2016), https://www.mdx.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/223266/MDX-NSPCC-OCC-pornography-report.pdf (accessed August 7, 2016).

[x] Ybarra, ibid.

[xi] Michael C. Seto and Martin L. Lalumière, “What Is So Special About Male Adolescent Sexual Offending? A Review and Test of Explanations through Meta-Analysis,” Psychological Bulletin 136, no. 4 (2010): 526–575.

[xii] Eileen M. Alexy, Ann W. Burgess, and Robert A. Prentky, “Pornography Use as a Risk Marker for an Aggressive Pattern of Behavior among Sexually Reactive Children and Adolescents,” Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 14, no. 4 (2009): 442–453.

[xiii] Ybarra, ibid.

[xiv] Sun, ibid.

[xv] Seigfried-Spellar, ibid.

By Category

  • Negative Body Image and Pressure to Perform Pornographic Acts: As a result of viewing pornography, women reported lowered body image, criticism from their partners regarding their bodies, increased pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films, and less actual sex. Men reported being more critical of their partner’s body and less interested in actual sex.[i]

 

  • Acceptance of Rape Myths: Women who were exposed to pornography as children were more likely to accept rape myths and to have sexual fantasies that involved rape.[ii]

 

  • Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse: The use of pornography by batterers significantly increased a battered woman’s odds of being sexually abused. Pornography use alone increased the odds by a factor of almost 2, and the combination of pornography and alcohol increased the odds of sexual abuse by a factor of 3.[iii] Other research has found that pornography use by batters is associated with learning about sex through pornography, imitation of behaviors seen in pornography, comparison of women to pornography performers, introduction of other sexual partners, filming sexual acts without consent, and the broader culture of pornography (e.g. fetishes).[iv]

 

  • Increased Marital Rape: Males who use pornography and go to strip clubs were found to engage in more sexual abuse, stalking, and marital rape than abusers who do not use pornography and go to strip clubs.[v]

[i] Julie M. Albright, “Sex in America Online: An Exploration of Sex, Marital Status, and Sexual Identity in Internet Sex Seeking and Its Impacts,” Journal of Sex Research 45 (2008): 175–186.

[ii] Shawn Corne, John Briere, and Lillian M. Esses, “Women’s Attitudes and Fantasies about Rape as a Function of Early Exposure to Pornography,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 7, no. 4 (1992): 454–461.

[iii] Janet Hinson Shope, “When Words Are Not Enough: The Search for the Effect of Pornography on Abused Women,” Violence Against Women 10, no. 1 (2004): 56–72.

[iv] Walter S. DeKeseredy and Amanda Hall-Sanchez, “Adult Pornography and Violence against Women in the Heartland: Results from a Rural Southeast Ohio Study,” Violence against Women (May 2016), 1–20.

[v] C. Simmons, P. Lehmann, and S. Collier-Tenison, “Linking Male Use of the Sex Industry to Controlling Behaviors in Violent Relationships: An Exploratory Analysis,” Violence Against Women 14, no. 4 (2008): 406–417.

  • The Research Is In: Since 2011, there have been 26 major studies which reveal pornography use has negative and detrimental impacts on the brain.[i]

 

  • Shrinks Brain: A 2014 study of the brain scans of 64 pornography users found that increased pornography use (i.e. pornography dosage) is linked to decreased brain matter in the areas of the brain associated with motivation and decision-making, and contributed to impaired impulse control and desensitization to sexual reward.[ii] Thus the study demonstrated that pornography use can produce physical, anatomic change in the brain—a hallmark of addiction.[iii]

 

  • Hijacks the Brain’s Reward System: Motivation and reward are regulated by the mesolimbic system. There is ample evidence that the mesolimbic system is activated in response to both substance abuse and natural rewards such as sex.[iv] Addiction occurs when the pleasure/rewards pathways of the brain are hijacked by drugs such as cocaine or by natural process vital to survival such as eating and sex.[v] The constant novelty of Internet pornography, as well as properties such as violation of expectations, anticipation of reward, and the act of seeking (i.e. surfing) stimulate mesolimbic dopamine activity.[vi] Growing evidence suggests that pornography use hijacks the brain’s reward system in the same way that drug use does.[vii]

 

  • The Addiction Gets Worse: Using functional MRI, a 2015 study from Cambridge found that compulsive sexual behavior is characterized by novelty-seeking, conditioning, and habituation to sexual stimuli in males—meaning users need more extreme content over time in order achieve the same level of arousal. The study also identified a dissociation between desiring or wanting but not liking sexually explicit materials—a finding consistent with theories of incentive motivation underlying drug addiction.[viii]

[i] Your Brain on Porn, “Brain Studies on Porn Users,” (2014) http://yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users (accessed July 13, 2016).

[ii] Simone Kühn and Jürgen Gallinat, “Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated with Pornography Consumption,” JAMA Psychiatry 71, no. 7 (2014): 827–834.

[iii] Donald L. Hilton, Jr., and Clark Watts, “Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective,” Surgical Neurology International 2, no. 19 (2011).

[iv] K.S. Frohmader, J. Wiskerke, R.A, Wise, M.N. Lehman, and L.M. Coolen, “Methamphetamine Acts on Subpopulations of Neurons Regulating Sexual Behavior in Male Rats,” Neuroscience 166, (2010): 771–784.

[v] Hilton, ibid.

[vi] Park, ibid.

[vii] Kühn, ibid; Shane W. Kraus, Valerie Voon, and Marc N. Potenza, “Neurobiology of Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Emerging Science,” Neuropsychopharmacology 41 (2016): 385-386; D.L Wallace, V. Vialou, T.L. Carle-Florence, S. Chakravarty, A. Kumar, D.L. Graham, T.A. Green, et al., “The Influence of DeltaFosB in the Nucleus Accumbens on Natural Reward-Related Behavior,” Journal of Neuroscience 8, no. 28 (2008):10272-10277.

[viii] Voon, ibid.

Flyer from National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: Impact of Exposure to Sexually Explicit and Exploitative Materials

Young people (<18 years old) who have been exposed to sexualized media (both pornography and sexualized TV) have an increased likelihood of:

    1. Having intentions to engage in sexual intercourse
    2. Having earlier initiation of sex
    3. Having sexual activity more frequently
    4. Having more sex partners
    5. Having multiple lifetime sexual partners
    6. Having had more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months
    7. Having engaged in oral sex
    8. Having engaged in anal sex
    9. Having engaged in sexual intercourse
    10. Having a strong desire to conceive
    11. Becoming pregnant
    12. Testing positive for chlamydia
    13. Having negative attitudes toward using condoms
    14. Having not used contraception during the last intercourse
    15. Having not used contraception in the past 6 months
    16. Having used alcohol or other substances at last sexual encounter
    17. Having higher sexual permissiveness scores
    18. Having less progressive gender role attitudes
    19. Being more likely to see women as sex objects
    20. Being more accepting of sexual harassment
    21. Engaging in more sexual harassment perpetration
    22. Engaging in forced sex
    23. Being a juvenile sex offender

STUDIES SUPPORTING THESE POINTS

1. Having intentions to engage in sexual intercourse

L’Engle, K. L., Brown, J. & Kenneavy, K. (2006). The mass media are an important context for adolescents’ sexual behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38, 4, 186-192.

2. Having earlier initiation of sex

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

Brown, J., L’Engle, K., Pardun, C., Guo, G., Kenneavy, K., & Jackson, C. (2006). Sexy media matter: Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents’ sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 117, 1018-1027.

3. Having sexual activity more frequently

L’Engle, K. L., Brown, J. & Kenneavy, K. (2006). The mass media are an important context for adolescents’ sexual behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38, 4, 186-192.

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

4. Having more sex partners

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

5. Having multiple lifetime sexual partners

Braun-Courville, D. & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 156-162.

6. Having had more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months

Braun-Courville, D. & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 156-162.

7. Having engaged in oral sex

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

8. Having engaged in anal sex

Braun-Courville, D. & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 156-162.

9. Having engaged in sexual intercourse

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

Collins, R., Elliott, M., Berry, S., Kanouse, D., Kunkel, D., Hunter, S. & Miu, A. (2004). Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 114, 3, e280-e289.

10. Having a strong desire to conceive

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

11. Becoming pregnant

Chandra, A., Martino, S., Collins, R., Elliott, M., Berry, S., Kanouse, D. & Miu, A. (2008). Does watching sex on television predict teen pregnancy? Findings from a national longitudinal survey of youth. Pediatrics, 122, 1047-1054.

12. Testing positive for chlamydia

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

13. Having negative attitudes toward using condoms

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

14. Having not used contraception during the last intercourse

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

15. Having not used contraception in the past 6 months

Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E., & Kim, M. (2001). Exposure to X-rated movies and adolescents’ sexual and contraceptive related attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics, 107, 5, 1116-1119.

16. Having used alcohol or other substances at last sexual encounter

Braun-Courville, D. & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 156-162.

17. Having higher sexual permissiveness scores

Braun-Courville, D. & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 156-162.
Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

18. Having less progressive gender role attitudes

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

19. Being more likely to see women as sex objects

Peter, J. & Valkenburg, P. (2007). Adolescents’ exposure to a sexualized media environment and their notions of women as sex objects. Sex Roles, 56, 381–395.

20. Being more accepting of sexual harassment

Strouse, J., Goodwin, M. & Roscoe, B. (1994). Correlates of attitudes toward sexual harassment among early adolescents. Sex Roles, 31, 559-577.

21. Engaging in more sexual harassment perpetration

Bonino, S., Ciairano, S. Rabaglietti, E. & Cattelino, E. (2006). Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 3, 265-288.

Brown, J. & L’Engle, K. (2009). X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36, 129-151.

22. Engaging in forced sex

Bonino, S., Ciairano, S. Rabaglietti, E. & Cattelino, E. (2006). Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 3, 265-288.

23. Being a juvenile sex offender

Ford, M. & Linney, J. A. (1995). Comparative analysis of juvenile sexual offenders, violent nonsexual offenders and status offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10, 1, 56-70.

  • K-1st grade students access the Internet using various devices for a variety of purposes, including playing online games and communicating with other people. Online gaming is increasingly popular among younger students. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of students K-1st grade level interact with people on Web sites, while 50 percent indicate that their parents watch them when they use a computer, leaving the other half of those youngsters more prone to being exposed to predation behaviors or other threats posed by online strangers or even persons they know or regard as friends. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of K-1st reported viewing online content that made them feel uncomfortable, of which 72 percent reported the experience to a grownup, meaning that one in four children did not. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves (24 percent). Double the number of teen girls have shared photos or physical descriptions of themselves online as boys. (34 percent girls vs. 15 percent boys) (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 20 percent of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors, including posting mean or hurtful information or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors, publicizing private communications, sending anonymous e-mails or cyberpranking someone. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • A quarter of teens would be shocked (24 percent), one in five would feel hurt (19 percent) and 34 percent would feel offended if they found out their mother was keeping track of what they do online without their knowledge or permission. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • Looking at a general picture of teen internet adoption, American teens are more wired now than ever before. According to our latest survey, 93 percent of all Americans between 12 and 17 years old use the internet. In 2004, 87 percent were internet users, and in 2000, 73 percent of teens went online. (Lenhart, Amanda and Madden, Mary. Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks. Pew Internet and American Life Project, April 18, 2007 http://www.pewinternet.org/pdf…rivacy_SNS_Report_Final.pdf).
  • Home computers are still overwhelmingly located in open family areas of the home; 74 percent of teens now say the computer they use is in a public place in the home, compared with 73 percent in 2004 and 70 percent in 2000. (Lenhart, Amanda and Madden, Mary. Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks. Pew Internet and American Life Project, April 18, 2007http://www.pewinternet.org/pdf…rivacy_SNS_Report_Final.pdf).
  • A large majority of teens (71 percent) have established online profiles (including those on social networking sites such as MySpace, Friendster and Xanga), up from 61 percent in 2006. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • The risks to children, particularly teenagers, in cyberspace include exposure to unwanted exposure to sexual material (1 in 3 youth) and harassment — threatening or other offensive behavior directed at them (1 in 11 youth). (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).
  • 31 percent of 7th to 12th-graders pretended to be older to get onto a website. (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts. Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006, http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).
  • Nearly one-third (31percent) of 8- to 18-year-olds have a computer in their bedroom, and one in five (20 percent) have an Internet connection there (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts. Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006, http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).
  • Three in four (74 percent) young people have a home Internet connection (31 percent have high-speed access). Nearly one-third (31 percent) have a computer in their bedroom, and one in five (20 percent) have an Internet connection there. In a typical day, about half of young people (48 percent) go online from home, 20 percent from school, and 16 percent from someplace else (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts. Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006, http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).
  • Among the 96 percent of young people who have ever gone online, 65 percent say they go online most often from home, 14 percent from school, 7 percent from a friend’s house, and 2 percent from a library or other location (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts. Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006,http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).
  • One in ten young people (13 percent) reports having a handheld device that connects to the Internet (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 2005).
  • The most common recreational activities young people engage in on the computer are playing games and communicating through instant messaging (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. (Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts, Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006, http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).

YOUTH AND INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY

  • Of students aged 13 and 14 from schools across Alberta, Canada, 90 percent of males and 70 percent of females reported accessing sexually explicit media content at least once. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • Of students aged 13 and 14 from schools across Alberta, Canada, 4 percent reported viewing pornography on the Internet; 41 percent saw it on video or DVD and 57 percent saw it on a specialty TV channel. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • The study revealed that boys do the majority of deliberate viewing, and a significant minority now plans social time around viewing porn with male friends. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • Porn has become a major presence in the lives of youth, and while a majority of teens surveys said their parents expressed concern about sexual content, that concern has not led to discussion or supervision, and few parents are using available technology to block sexual content. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • The author of the study, Sonya Thompson concluded that parents need to improve dialogue with their children and their own awareness level. They need to be the ones setting the boundaries in the house. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • Overall, boys aged 13 and 14 living in rural areas are the most likely of their age group to access pornography. (Thompson, Sonya. “Study Shows 1 in 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users”. University of Alberta Study, 5 March 2007, http://www.healthnews-stat/com…0&keys=porn-rural-teens.)
  • Forty-two percent of Internet users aged 10 to 17 surveyed said they had seen online pornography in a recent 12-month span. Of those, 66 percent said they did not want to view the images and had not sought them out. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The results come from a telephone survey of 1,500 Internet users aged 10 to 17 conducted in 2005, with their parents’ consent. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-257.)
  • In the survey, most kids who reported unwanted exposure were aged 13 to 17. Still, sizable numbers of 10- and 11-year-olds also had unwanted exposure — 17 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls that age. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-257.)
  • More than one-third of 16- and 17-year-old boys surveyed said they had intentionally visited X-rated sites in the past year. Among girls the same age, 8 percent had done so. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-25.)
  • Overall, 34 percent had unwanted exposure to online pornography, up from 25 percent in a similar survey conducted in 1999 and 2000. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-257.)
  • Online use that put kids at the highest risk for unwanted exposure to pornography was using file-sharing programs to download images. However, they also stumbled onto X-rated images through other “normal” Internet use, the researchers said, including talking online with friends, visiting chat rooms and playing games. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-257.)
  • Filtering and blocking software helped prevent exposure, but was not 100 percent effective, the researchers said. (Wolak, Janis, et al. “Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users.” Pediatrics 119 (2007); 247-257.)In 2000, more than one-third of youth Internet users (34 percent) saw sexual material online they did not want to see in the past year compared to one-quarter (25 percent) in 2005 (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).
  • More than three-quarters of the unwanted exposures (79 percent) happened at home. Nine (9) percent happened at school, 5 percent happened at friends’ homes, and 5 percent happened in other places including libraries (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).
  • According to a New Zealand Internal Affairs study, the largest single age group viewing child pornography is young people aged 15 to 19, accounting for a quarter of 202 convicted child porn users. (New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs. Internet Traders of Child Pornography: Profiling Research. By Caroline Sullivan. October 2005. January 10, 2006. http://www.dia.govt.nz/pubform…text-align:right’/a>).
  • 70 percent have accidentally come across pornography on the Web (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts. Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006, http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up…f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf).
  • Nine out of 10 children aged between eight and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures. (London School of Economics January 2002).

YOUTH ACTING OUT

  • The number of cases in which children received court orders or warnings for sex offenses has jumped by 20 percent in the past three years; experts blame the Internet, saying that the youth behavior has been changed by ready access to sexual imagery. (“Web Is Blamed for 20 Percent Leap in Sex Attacks by Children”. This is London. 3 March 2007, www.thisislondon.co.uk).

YOUTH, ONLINE PRIVACY & SOCIAL NETWORKING

  • Frequently children in 4th-6th grade levels engage in social networking activities. In the process they post personal, potentially exploitable, information about themselves online. Specifically, and within the last school year: 16% posted personal interests online, 15% posted information about their physical activities and 20% gave out their real name. In addition, 5% posted information about their school, 6% posted their home address, 6% posted their phone number and 9% posted pictures of themselves. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • A majority of teens (58 percent) don’t think posting photos or other personal info on social networking sites is unsafe. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU. http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Teens readily post personal info online. 64 percent post photos or videos of themselves, while more than half (58 percent) post info about where they live. Females are far more likely than male teens to post personal photos or videos of themselves (70 percent vs. 58 percent). (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Nearly one in 10 teens (8 percent ) has posted his or her cell phone number online. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Teens who have online profiles are generally more likely to say it is okay to give out certain pieces of personal information in offline situations than they are to have that information actually posted to their profile. Teens with online profiles have a greater tendency to say it is fine to share where they go to school, their IM screen name, email address, last name and cell phone number with someone they met at a party, when compared with the percentage who actually post that information online. The only piece of information they are more likely to share online rather than in person with a new acquaintance is the city and state where they live. (Lenhart, Amanda and Madden, Mary. Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks. Pew Internet and American Life Project, April 18, 2007http://www.pewinternet.org/pdf…rivacy_SNS_Report_Final.pdf).
  • Some 23 percent of teen profile creators say it would be “pretty easy” for someone to find out who they are from the information posted to their profile, and 40 percent of teens with profiles online think that it would be hard for someone to find out who they are from their profile, but that they could eventually be found online. Another 36 percent say they think it would be “very difficult” for someone to identify them from their online profile. (Lenhart, Amanda and Madden, Mary. Teens, Privacy, and Online Social Networks. Pew Internet and American Life Project, April 18, 2007 http://www.pewinternet.org/pdf…rivacy_SNS_Report_Final.pdf).

 


YOUTH, STRANGERS & SEXUAL SOLICITATIONS

  • 14 percent of students in 10th-12th grade have accepted an invitation to meet an online stranger in-person and 14 percent of students, who are usually the same individuals, have invited an online stranger to meet them in-person. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 14 percent 7th-9th grade students reported that they had communicated with someone online about sexual things; 11 percent of students reported that they had been asked to talk about sexual things online; 8 percent have been exposed to nude pictures and 7 percent were also asked for nude pictures of themselves online. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 59 percent of 7th-9th grade victims said their perpetrators were a friend they know in-person; 36 percent said it was someone else they know; 21 percent said the cyber offender was a classmate; 19 percent indicated the abuser was an online friend; and 16 [ercent said it was an online stranger. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • Nine percent of children in 7th-9th grade have accepted an online invitation to meet someone in-person and 10 percent have asked someone online to meet them in-person. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 13 percent of 2nd-3rd grade students report that they used the Internet to talk to people they do not know, 11 percent report having been asked to describe private things about their body and 10 percent have been exposed to private things about someone else’s body. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 69 percent of teens regularly receive personal messages online from people they don’t know and most of them don’t tell a trusted adult about it. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • While 16 percent of teens say they’ve considered meeting face-to-face with someone they’ve talked to only online, that marks a significant drop compared to the 30% of teens who were considering such a meeting in 2006. In 2007, 8 percent of teens say they actually have met in person with someone from the Internet, down from 14 percent in 2006. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • When they receive online messages from someone they don’t know, 60 percent of teens say they usually respond only to ask who the person is. Compared to the 2006 survey, there was a 10-percentage-point increase in teens ignoring such messages (57 percent vs. 47 percent). Still, nearly a third of teens (31 percent) say they usually reply and chat with people they don’t know, and only 21 percent tell a trusted adult when they receive such messages. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Approximately 1 in 7 (13 percent) was solicited in 2005, compared to approximately 1 in 5 (19 percent) in 2000; however, aggressive solicitations, in which solicitors made or attempted to make offline contact with youth, did not decline. Four (4) percent of youth Internet users received aggressive solicitations – a proportion similar to the 3 percent who received aggressive solicitations in 2000 (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006.http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).
  • Four percent of all youth Internet users in 2005 said online solicitors asked them for nude or sexually explicit photographs of themselves (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).
  • In a survey conducted by the Intelligence Group, Dateline questioned 500 teenagers across the country, ages 14-18, about their computer habit. When asked if someone they’ve met online has wanted to meet them in person, 58 percent said “yes” and 29 percent said they’ve had a “scary” experience online (Most Teens Say They’ve Met Strangers Online, MSNBC Interactive, April 26, 2006,http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12…T/print/1/displaymode/1098/).
  • Half of teens ages 13-18 often communicate through the Internet with someone they have not met in person (Internet Safety: Realistic Strategies & Messages for Kids Taking More and More Risks Online. December 21, 2005. Polly Klaas Foundation. February 17, 2006. http://www.pollyklaas.org/internet-safety/pkfsummary.pdf).
  • One-third of youth ages 8-18 have talked about meeting someone they have only met through the Internet (Internet Safety: Realistic Strategies & Messages for Kids Taking More and More Risks Online. December 21, 2005. Polly Klaas Foundation. February 17, 2006. http://www.pollyklaas.org/internet-safety/pkfsummary.pdf).
  • Almost one in eight youth ages 8-18 discovered that someone they were communicating with online was an adult pretending to be much younger (Internet Safety: Realistic Strategies & Messages for Kids Taking More and More Risks Online. December 21, 2005. Polly Klaas Foundation. February 17, 2006.http://www.pollyklaas.org/internet-safety/pkfsummary.pdf).
  • 30 percent of teenage girls polled by the Girl Scout Research Institute said they had been sexually harassed in a chatroom. Only 7 percent, however, told their mothers or fathers about the harassment because they were worried that their parents would ban them from going online” (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).
  • 86 percent of the girls polled said they could chat online without their parents’ knowledge, 57 percent could read their parents’ e-mail, and 54 percent could conduct a cyber relationship. (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).

OLDER STATISTICS

  • *About 2 out of 3 (63%) 15- to 17- year olds say they favor the Children’s Internet Protection Act. (The Kaiser Family Foundation in consultation with International Communications Research, 2001)
  • *The survey found that 90% of teens and young adults have gone online, and that half (49%) of those online plug in once a day or more. Three out of four young people (74%) have access at home, and nearly one in three (31%) has access from their own bedroom. (The Kaiser Family Foundation in consultation with International Communications Research, 2001)
  • *Parents rely mostly on personal observation and setting guidelines for their children’s Internet access. One in two parents do not use any blocking or filtering software. (FamilyPC Survey, August, 2001)
  • *34% of adults (in July 2000) who have children participating in “real-time” chats were most likely to use technology to monitor where my children chat. (FamilyPC Survey, August, 2001)
  • *26 popular children’s characters, such as Pokemon, My Little Pony and Action Man, revealed thousands of links to porn sites. 30% were hard-core. (Envisional 2000)
  • *Students were most at risk for cybersex compulsions due to a combination of increased access to computers, more private leisure time, & developmental stage characterized by increased sexual awareness & experimentation. Both computer classes & colleges might need to recognize this increased vulnerability and institute new primary prevention strategies. (MSNBC/Stanford/Duquesne Study, 2000)
    *Children are reported missing at the rate of 750,000 per year, 62,500 per month, 14,423, per week, 2,054 per day, and 85 per hour or 3 children every 2 minutes. (NCMEC Online Victimization: A report on the nation’s Youth April 3, 2000)
  • *44 percent of children polled have visited x-rated sites or sites with sexual content. Moreover, 43 percent of children said they do not have rules about Internet use in their homes. (Time/CNN Poll, 2000)
  • *11/98 – 11-year-old Josh had been looking at graphic violent porn on the Internet for 20 minutes immediately before stabbing 8-year-old Maddie Clifton to death. (Dangerous Access, 2000)
  • *6/29/98 – 13-year-old (boy) was in the Phoenix Burton Barr Library viewing porn on the Internet. He followed a 4-year-old into the bathroom and asked the younger boy to give him oral sex. (Dangerous Access, 2000)
  • *While 75% of parents say they know where children spend time online, the truth about kids’ Internet habits show 58% of teens say they have accessed an objectionable Web site: 39 % offensive music, 25% sexual content and 20% violence. (Source: WebSense, USA Today, 10/10-12/99)
  • *Pornographers disguise their sites (i.e. “stealth” sites) with common brand names, including Disney, Barbie, ESPN, etc., to entrap children. (Cyveillance Study, March 1999)
  • *62% of parents of teenagers are unaware that their children have accessed objectionable Websites (Source: Yankelovich Partners Study, September 1999)
  • *The majority of teenagers’ online use occurs at home, right after school, when working parents are not at home. (Arbitron New Media Study, October 1999)
  • 77% of Parents say they see the Internet as an important tool to help their kids learn (National Attitudinal Poll, Common Sense Media, June 7, 2006, http://www.commonsensemedia.or…ws/press-releases.php?id=23).
  • Nearly all young people have used a computer (98%) and gone online (96%). They spend an average of just over one hour each day using a computer outside of schoolwork (1:02), including about 48 minutes online. In a typical day, just over half (54%) of all young people use a computer for recreation (compared to 85% who listen to music and 81% who watch TV) (Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. Victoria Rideout, Donald F. Roberts, Ulla G. Foehr. March 2005. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 November 2006 <http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf>).
  • In a typical day, just over half (54%) of all young people use a computer for recreation (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 2005).
  • A study by the NOP Research Group found that of the four million children aged seven to 17 who surf the net, 29% percent would freely give out their home address and 14% would freely give out their e-mail address if asked. (Telegraph.co.uk January 2002)
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation’s study on teens’ use of the Internet for health information has some shocking findings:
    • Pornography and Internet Filtering Among all 15-24 year-olds:
      • Two-thirds (67%) support the law requiring Internet filters at schools and libraries.
      • Two out of three (65%) say being exposed to online pornography could have a serious impact on those under 18.
      • A majority (59%) think seeing pornography on the Internet encourages young people to have sex before they’re ready.
    • Among the 95% of all 15-17 year-olds who have ever gone online:
      • Seventy percent have accidentally stumbled across pornography online, 23% “very” or “somewhat” often.
      • A majority (55%) of those who were exposed to pornography say they were “not too” or “not at all” upset by it, while 45% were “very” or “somewhat” upset.
      • A third (33%) of those with home Internet access have a filtering technology in place there. Among the 76% of all 15-17 year-olds who have sought health information online:

*-*Nearly half (46%) say they have been blocked from non-pornographic sites by filtering technology.

 

  • 58 percent of moms think the government is not doing enough to keep kids safe online (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 44 percent said they worry about their teens’ safety when they are online in their bedroom unsupervised, and about one in four (24 percent) are more concerned about what their children do online than what they do when they are out of the house. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 58 percent of moms believe teens sharing too much personal information is a primary concern. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • About two-thirds of mothers of teens in the United States are just as, or more, concerned about their teenagers’ online safety, such as from threatening emails or solicitation by online sexual predators, as they are about drunk driving (62 percent) and experimenting with drugs (65 percent). (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 72 percent of mothers have a verbal agreement with their teen – that is, a discussion of what is and is not allowed online(Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 48 percent of mothers admitted they don’t always know what their kids do online. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 26 percent of moms said they have joined and “friended” their child on a social networking site, but many moms are going undercover to monitor their children. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 59 per cent said they check their child’s browser history when they are done using the Internet and 15 percent use a software program to monitor what their kids do online. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • Parental awareness of their teens’ online activities has risen significantly. This year, 25 percent of teens say their parents know “little” or “nothing” about what they do online, down from 33 percent last year. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU. http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • 41 percent of teens report their parents talk to them “a lot” about Internet safety (up five points over 2006), and three out of four say their parents have talked to them in the past year about the potential dangers of posting personal info. The level of parental involvement is higher for younger teens and girls, although it has increased across all age groups and both genders. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about Internet safety are more concerned about the risks of sharing personal info online than teens whose parents are less involved. For instance, 65 percent of those whose parents have not talked to them about online safety post info about where they live, compared to 48 percent of teens with more involved parents. (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about online safety are less likely to consider meeting face to face with someone they met on the Internet (12 percent vs. 20 percent). (National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU.http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/…ocs/survey_results_2007.ppt).
  • The number one media concern for parents has shifted from television to the Internet, with 85 percent of parents saying that it posed the greatest risk to their children among all forms of media (National Attitudinal Poll, Common Sense Media, June 7, 2006, http://www.commonsensemedia.or…ws/press-releases.php?id=23).
  • According to the NAC parent survey of more than 4,000 respondents, 93 percent of parents stated that they know “some” or “a lot” about where their children go and what they do on the Internet. Yet only 42 percent of high school students — and 62 percent of middle school students stated that they share where they go and what they do on the Internet with their parents (Market Wire. November 6, 2006. i-SAFE Inc. December 12, 2006 http://www.marketwire.com/mw/r…e_html_b1?release_id=180330).
  • 42 percent of parents do not review the content of what their teenagers read and/or type in chat rooms or via instant messaging. 58 percent of parents do. (Parents’ Internet Monitoring Study. June 2005. Cox Communications, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Netsmartz, December 14, 2005, http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/includes/docs/results.pdf).
  • Teenagers use chat lingo to communicate when Instant Messaging and parents don’t know the meaning of some of the most commonly used phrases. 57 percent don’t know “LOL” (laughing out loud), 68 percent don’t know “BRB” (be right back), and 92 percent don’t know “A/S/L” (age, sex, location). (Parents’ Internet Monitoring Study. June 2005. Cox Communications, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Netsmartz, December 14, 2005, http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/includes/docs/results.pdf).
  • 95 percent of parents did not recognize other common chat room lingo that teenagers use to let people they are chatting with online know that parents are around including: POS (parents over shoulder); P911 (parents alert). (Parents’ Internet Monitoring Study. June 2005. Cox Communications, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Netsmartz, December 14, 2005,http://www.cox.com/TakeCharge/includes/docs/results.pdf).
  • 23 percent of parents have rules about what their kids can do on the computer. (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 2005).

 

Whether or not you think your teen is sexting, many teens are or their friends are doing it. Eye opening statistics show that 1 in 5 teens admit to sexting. The key word in this statistic is “admit.” There are far more teens who are sexting but don’t admit to it. I can bet the parents of these teens are generally unaware their teen is a “sexter.” Due to the sexting epidemic that is an unfortunate reality today, it is essential that parents talk frequently to their kids about sexting if they don’t want their teen participating in it.

 

The first question is when to start talking to your kids about the peril sexting brings. The first discussion should commence before your child even gets a cell phone or any device that’s capable of sending a sext (ie. computers, tablets, etc). Once a child receives such a device, they are susceptible to the influences of sexting. To prevent your teen from sexting you should take initiative. After your child has a device, you should frequently have an open discussion on the topic. Frequent and open discussions about sexting will make your child feel comfortable to approach and talk to you about it.

 

The second question is how to talk to your child about sexting. Sexting is a difficult topic to approach and requires a balancing act. You don’t want to appear too judgmental or forceful, but at the same time you want to be firm with where you stand and help them to see the dangers and consequences. To aid in your discussion we have listed a few helpful talking points:

  • What do you think is considered sexting?
    • Sexting: sending someone sexually explicit photographs or messages, whether verbal or in pictures
  • Is there any harm to sexting?
    • Can be charged for child pornography (by sending or receiving sexts)
    • Images/messages follow you, you can’t delete them once they are sent
    • Sexually objectifies you
    • Images are almost always shared with others besides the receiver.
    • Reputation and future opportunities are often at risk.
    • Many stories of children being forced into prostitution or sex trafficking begin with the “pimp” using sexts as a means of coercion to get them to comply with their demands.
  • Is sexting worth the attention?
    • The receiver and those they show it to are likely to lose some respect for you.
    • You become a sexual object instead of a real person
    • The individual asking will often try to make you feel special but all he/she really wants is a sexually explicit photo. Odds are, if he/she doesn’t get it from you they will just try and get it from someone else. As long as they get it, they don’t care if it’s from you or the next person
  • Do you have control over a picture/ message once it’s sent?
    • Absolutely not. Nearly every teen who receives a sext ends up sharing it or forwarding to others, and many sexts end up on third party websites. All of this usually occurs without your knowledge or consent.
  • Why do people sext?
    • Seeking attention/approval
    • Peer pressure
    • Bullying
    • Want to satisfy another

 

Here are some tips to start the discussion:

  • Talk about healthy media choices in general.
  • Mention a story you heard in the news about other kids who are engaged in sexting.
  • Ask if they know anyone who does this, maybe other kids at school.
  • Ask if they have ever been asked to sext.
  • Ask your kids about their future goals and then start talking about some hurdles they might encounter that would impede those goals (sexting can impact grades, college acceptance, etc.)
  • Have frequent talks about healthy intimacy and boundaries, work sexting into the discussions.

 

REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT A ONE TIME CONVERSATION!

 

Talking to your kids is the most crucial and effective way to prevent sexting. Genuinely understanding the harms and consequences of sexting will be the best form of prevention. It’s a lot better for your kids to choose not to sext than to force them not to sext.

 

However, you can also consider taking actions to monitor your kids’ devices. This can be done a number of ways. To get you started, here are three ideas:

 

  1. Check you child’s devices at random times. Checking at random times will encourage your kids to not send or receive anything inappropriate because they don’t know when you may check their device.
  2. Don’t let your child go to bed with their devices. When a teen goes to bed they are left behind closed doors for hours, and as the saying goes, “nothing good happens after midnight.” This creates a prime environment for sexting. Don’t let that environment be created.
  3. Use a program or app that helps you monitor your kid’s cell phone and Internet activity. Dr. Phil has an excellent list of recommended programs to use. Click HERE to access the list. Here is a list of resources compiled by us.

 

MORE RESOURCES FOR PARENTS

 Our resource center:

  • A list of resources for parents, includes: talking about porn, safe media choices, technology solutions, discussing healthy intimacy, etc. Click here.

How to find if your teen is sexting on Snapchat:

  • http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/03/technology/social/spy-on-snapchat/

More programs for monitoring your child’s device:

Further help with talking points:

  • http://www.wcsap.org/sexting-talking-points-youth-focused
  • http://www.whowillyouempower.com/craigsblog/2014/4/22/sexting-a-digital-topic-to-talk-about-with-your-teen
  • http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2011-6-8-how-talk-your-kids-about-sexting
  • Internet pedophiles are increasingly adopting counter-intelligence techniques to protect themselves from being traced (National Criminal Intelligence Service, 8/21/03).
  • Forty percent of people charged with child pornography also sexually abuse children, police say. But finding the predators and identifying the victims are daunting tasks (Reuters, 2003).
  • One in five children who use computer chatrooms has been approached over the Internet by pedophiles. (Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Akerman, Telegraph.co.uk January 2002).
  • 13 million youth use Instant Messaging. (Pew Study reported in JAMA, 6/01).
  • 1 in 5 received sexual solicitation or approach in last year. (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000).
  • 1 in 33 received AGGRESSIVE sexual solicitation (asked to meet, called them via phone, sent mail, money or gifts). (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000)
  • 25% of youth who received sexual solicitation told a parent. (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000).
  • 1 in 4 kids participate in Real Time Chat. (FamilyPC Survey, 2000).
  • A New Zealand Internal Affairs study suggests that there is an association between viewing child pornography and committing child sexual abuse (New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs. Internet Traders of Child Pornography: Profiling Research. By Caroline Sullivan. October 2005. January 10, 2006. <http://www.dia.govt.nz/pubform…le/Profilingupdate2.pdf>).
  • A study of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that one in six men reported being sexually abused as children. Almost 40 percent of the perpetrators were female (Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim. Volume 28, Issue 5. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. June 2005).
  • One in four women reported childhood sexual abuse and in most cases perpetrated by males (Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim. Volume 28, Issue 5. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. June 2005).
  • According to Interpol, the international police organization, as many as one in 1,000 men has a sexual interest in children.
  • Child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, and the content is becoming much worse. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains. (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).
  • Of all known child abuse domains, 58 percent are housed in the United States (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).
  • The fastest growing demand in commercial websites for child abuse is for images depicting the worst type of abuse, including penetrative sexual activity involving children and adults and sadism or penetration by an animal (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed, in a June 2005 study, that 40% of arrested child pornography possessors had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography (also known as “dual offenders”). Both crimes were discovered in the same investigation. Another 15% were “dual offenders” who tried to victimize children by soliciting undercover investigators who posed as minors online. Overall 36% of “dual offenders” showed or gave child pornography to identified victims or undercover investigators posing as minors online. Of those arrested in the U.S. for the possession of child pornography between 2000 and 2001, 83% had images involving children between ages 6 and 12; 39% had images involving children between ages 3 and 5; and 19% had images of infants and toddlers under age 3 (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study. Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2005).
  • According to a National Children’s Homes report, in 2003, the number of Internet child pornography images had increased 1500% since 1988. Approximately 20% of all Internet pornography involves children (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Internet Sex Crimes Against Minors: The Response of Law Enforcement. Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2003).
  • According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), child pornography reports increased 39% in 2004. Ernie Allen, former president and CEO of NCMEC, states that the statistics show a significant and steady increase in child pornography reports for the seventh year. More than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the Internet every week (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 10/8/03). More babies and toddlers are appearing on the net and the abuse is getting worse. It is more torturous and sadistic than it was before. The typical age of children is between six and 12, but the profile is getting younger (Prof. Max Taylor, Combating Pedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003).
  • 345% increase in child pornography sites between 2/2001-7/2001. (N2H2 press release, 8/01)
  • N2H2 reported 403 child porn sites, or 67 per month, for the six months of April to September 2000. Child porn sites rose dramatically for the six months of February to July 2001 to 1,391 or 231 per month. That’s an increase of 345% at the rate of about 8 per day. (N2H2 Filtering Service Press Release, 8/8/01)
  • 50 percent of those questioned for the Pew Internet and American Life survey ranked child pornography as the Internet crime that concerns them most. (The Pew Internet and American Life Project Survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, 4/2/01)
  • 140,000 child pornography images were posted to the Internet according to researchers who monitored the Internet over six weeks. Twenty children were estimated to have been abused for the first time and more than 1,000 images of each child created (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 10/8/03).
  • More than half of all illegal sites reported to the Internet Watch Foundation are hosted in the United States. Illegal sites in Russia have more than doubled from 286 to 706 in 2002 (National Criminal Intelligence Service, 8/21/03).
  • Demand for pornographic images of babies and toddlers on the Internet is soaring (Prof. Max Taylor, Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003).
  • Approximately 20 new children appear on the porn sites every month – many kidnapped or sold into sex (Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003).
  • In the last couple of years, we’ve just seen such young children on regular seizures – babies, 2-, 3-, 4-year-olds (Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie, Toronto Police Force).
  • The U.S. Customs Service estimates that there are more than 100,000 Web sites offering child pornography – which is illegal worldwide. Revenue estimates for the industry range from about $200 million to more than $1 billion per year. These unlawful sexual images can be purchased as easily as shopping at Amazon.com. “Subscribers” typically use credit cards to pay a monthly fee of between $30 and $50 to download photos and videos, or a one-time fee of a few dollars for single images. (Red Herring Magazine, 1/18/02).

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