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Rates, Age, & Impact of Exposure to Pornography

Child and Adolescent Pornography Exposure

Full Article Title: Child and Adolescent Pornography Exposure.

Open Access: Yes.



Children and adolescents are growing up in a digital world. The rapid expansion of the development, accessibility, and use of cellular phones and the Internet is  changing human existence. Adolescents are absorbed in the use of technology; however, this behavior is also becoming characteristic of younger children as well. Consider that in 1970, the average American child began to watch television regularly at age 4, yet today, children begin interacting with digital media at the age of 4 months. Although technology can enhance communication, recreation, and education, its use can also present risks to children and adolescents. One such risk is exposure to pornography. It is difficult to dispute the fact that the Internet has revolutionized the pornography industry and has substantially expanded child and adolescent access to pornography. The Internet allows instant access to a wide variety of pornography that can be viewed anywhere, even from the privacy of a child’s room, with little to no parental knowledge. This continuing educational article will explore child and adolescent Internet pornography exposure in terms of definition, epidemiology, predictors, consequences, and implications for practice.



“The primary concern related to pornography viewing in young children under the age of 12 years is the development of problem sexualized behaviors (PSB). PSB involves sexual knowledge beyond what would be expected for the child’s age and developmental levels, such as children engaging in sophisticated sexual acts such as intercourse or oral sex…PSB in children less than 12 years of age are the result of several factors, including pornography viewing…children less than 12 years of age who disclosed engaging in pornography viewing were at significantly higher odds of engaging in PSB when compared with their non−pornography exposed peers…Among other potential negative consequences, pornography viewing promotes sexual aggression, risky sexual practices, objectification of women, and hyper-gendered male and female stereotypes…Youth who reported intentional exposure to pornography were 6.5 times more likely to report perpetration of sexually aggressive behaviors when compared with youth not reporting intentional pornography use. Youth reporting exposure to sexually violent pornography were 24 times more likely to perpetrate sexually aggressive behaviors in comparison with their non−pornography viewing peers…Screening children and adolescents for pornography viewing should be a routine aspect of pediatric health care.”



Horner, G. (2020). Child and Adolescent Pornography Exposure. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 34(2), 191-199.