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

Amber-tinted glasses may provide relief for insomnia

December 15, 2017
How do you unwind before bedtime? If your answer involves Facebook and Netflix, you are actively reducing your chance of a good night's sleep. And you are not alone: 90 percent of Americans use light-emitting electronic devices, ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Office work can be a pain in the neck

December 15, 2017
Neck pain is a common condition among office workers, but regular workplace exercises can prevent and reduce it, a University of Queensland study has found.

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

One in five patients report discrimination in health care

December 14, 2017
Almost one in five older patients with a chronic disease reported experiencing health care discrimination of one type or another in a large national survey that asked about their daily experiences of discrimination between ...

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.