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Rates/Age/Impact of Exposure

I see it everywhere: Young Australians Unintended Exposure to Sexual Content Online

‘I see it everywhere’: young Australians unintended exposure to sexual content onlineFull Article Title: ‘I see it everywhere’: Young Australians Unintended Exposure to Sexual Content Online

Open Access: Yes

Abstract

BackgroundThere are wide variations in the reported prevalence of exposure to sexual content online, but the literature tends not to distinguish between intended and unintended exposure. Moreover, there is little research exploring the pathways through which exposure occurs or descriptions of such content. While there is much public concern regarding exposure to sexual content, Australian students receive little or no education on mitigating the effect of sexual content online. Methods: Eleven focus group discussions with high school students aged 14–18 years were conducted to discover young people’s experiences of exposure to sexual content in social media. In this paper, we describe these pathways to sexual content exposure, the nature of the sexual content young people are exposed to and their views about this exposure. Results: Focus groups showed that exposure to sexual content through social media occurred through networks of ‘friends’ or followers, and paid-for advertising. Content ranged from subtle messages or photos to explicit pornographic pictures/videos. Most of the exposure young people described was unintended. Conclusions: Exposure to sexual content, no matter the scope and intensity, was almost unavoidable among young people who use social media. Utilising this information to educate young people on mitigating the effect of sexual content, rather than trying to prevent young people from viewing it, could be a more effective approach.

    Citation

    Lewis, L., Somers, J. M., Guy, R., Watchirs-Smith, L., & Skinner, S. R. (2018). ‘I see it everywhere’: Young Australians unintended exposure to sexual content online. Sexual Health, 15(4), 335–341. https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17132