Internet porn bad for adolescent health

May 21, 2012

Emerging evidence indicates that internet pornography is strongly associated with risky sexual behavior among adolescents, according a review from UNSW's Kirby Institute.

The latest studies demonstrate a strong link between internet exposure to sexually explicit material and earlier and more diverse sexual practice that can result in adverse sexual and  outcomes, according Dr. Rebecca Guy, from the Kirby Institute’s Sexual Health Program, and co-authors writing in the Medical Journal of Australia.

“Young people who reported having visited sexually explicit websites were more likely to have higher numbers of sexual partners, engage in a wider diversity of sexual practices, and use alcohol or drugs in association with sexual encounters”, the authors said.

They noted that all these factors have been associated with a higher risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. They also noted that a comprehensive Australian survey showed that 28 percent of 9–16-year-olds had seen sexual material online.

“The massive volume of sexually explicit material, now easily accessible on the internet, has led to mounting concern about young easily engaging with pornography. Some of this concern undoubtedly has a moral overtone, but there are also genuine questions about the potential for exposure to pornography at a young age to bring forward the onset of sexual activity,” the authors wrote.

They noted that a major difficulty with interpreting most research in the field is that adolescents predisposed to earlier and more varied sexual engagement may be the ones who will seek out pornography.

According to the authors, sex education, and open discussion of sexual matters within schools and families assisted young people in decision making, and did not increase the likelihood of earlier engagement in sex, so there should be continuing emphasis on these strategies.

The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.

Explore further: Sexually abused boys engage in more unsafe sex

Related Stories

Sexually abused boys engage in more unsafe sex

March 6, 2012
Boys who are victims of sexual abuse are far more likely to engage in unsafe sexual behavior as teenagers, finds a new review in the current Journal of Adolescent Health. Sexually abused boys were twice as likely to engage ...

Group sex among adolescents a public health concern, new study says

December 16, 2011
One in 13 teenage girls, aged 14 to 20, reported having a group-sex experience, with those young women more likely to have been exposed to pornography and childhood sexual abuse than their peers, according to a new study ...

Songs about sex—how they affect kids

September 6, 2011
Do sexualized lyrics in popular music have an impact on the sexual behavior and attitudes of adolescents? Researchers Cougar Hall, Joshua H. West, and Shane Hill from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, take a look at ...

Recommended for you

Americans misinformed about smoking

August 22, 2017
After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.