UK Young People's Views on Porn

A survey has been conducted amongst 500 British 18-year-olds to find out about their views about pornography. Most of the teens questioned said that viewing porn (either accidentally or on purpose) is common throughout their school years, with most young people starting at around the ages of 13-15 years.

A huge 72% of teens said that porn leads to unrealistic attitudes about sex and what intimacy looks like in real life. Importantly,  a similar number of people said they felt that this effect is damaging. Unsurprisingly, negative feelings about porn were higher amongst females in the study with 80% saying that they feel it puts pressure on teenage girls to look and act a certain way. Gender differences were also seen when teens were asked whether they agreed that “porn encourages society to view women as sex objects”, with 37% of girls agreeing compared to only 18% of boys. However both seemed to agree that growing up would be easier if porn was less easy to access for young people.

Politicians have tried to act on similar research by asking Internet providers (such as BT, Sky and Virgin Media) to block age-inappropriate content as the default setting. It has also been argued that children should be taught about sex and relationships at a younger age, before they are likely to come into contact with online pornography. Psychology Professor, Miranda Horvarth, argues that if we teach kids about equality and respect in relationships when they are in primary school, then they will be able to see the lack of respect in porn once they’re a bit older and be better able to deal with these issues.

We have lots more information and advice on our website (www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/Porn) about what science tells us about how porn affects us. If you want to talk to somebody confidentially about sex and relationships, you can contact Brook (www.brook.org.uk) or call their free phone line on 0808 802 1234. Alternatively, if you’re worried about anything you see online, you can talk in private to ChildLine on 0800 1111.