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Shaping Sexual Behaviors & Sexual Scripts

Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material, Sexual Uncertainty, and Attitudes Toward Uncommitted Sexual Exploration: Is There a Link?

Full Article Name: Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material, Sexual Uncertainty, and Attitudes Toward Uncommitted Sexual Exploration: Is There a Link?

Open Access: No

Abstract

The link between adolescents’ exposure to sexual media content and their sexual socialization has hardly been approached from an identity development framework. Moreover, existing research has largely ignored the role of adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit Internet material in that association. This study introduces two characteristics of adolescents’ sexual self—sexual uncertainty and attitudes toward sexual exploration—and investigates these characteristics as potential correlates of adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit Internet material. Drawing from a sample of 2,343 Dutch adolescents aged 13 to 20, the authors find that more frequent exposure to sexually explicit Internet material is associated with greater sexual uncertainty and more positive attitudes toward uncommitted sexual exploration (i.e., sexual relations with casual partners/friends or with sexual partners in one-night stands). The findings call for more attention to adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit material on the Internet and identity-related issues.A survey was conducted among 692 Australian 13- to 16-year-olds to examine aspects of their Internet use and, in particular, their exposure to inappropriate material and behaviors online and their online safety practices. Significant differences were found in the amount of exposure to inappropriate material or behaviors online according to sex and frequency of usage, with males and more frequent Internet users showing greater exposure. No differences were found according to whether blocking or filtering software was installed. Significant differences in online safety practices were also found, with younger participants (13- to 14-year-olds) and those participants whose parents had not discussed Internet safety with them being less safety-conscious.

Citation

Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2008). Adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit internet material, sexual uncertainty, and attitudes toward uncommitted sexual exploration: Is there a link? Communication Research, 35(5), 579–601. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650208321754