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Rates, Age, & Impact of Exposure to Pornography

Psychological and Forensic Challenges Regarding Youth Consumption of Pornography

Full Article Title: Psychological and Forensic Challenges Regarding Youth Consumption of Pornography: A Narrative Review.

Open Access: Yes

Abstract

Nowadays, technology has become part of the daily activities of a large part of the population. Many of the activities and development and socialization processes of minors and young people have been transferred to the online world, generating attention and concern from the educational, scientific, and forensic communities. One of the most worrying issues derived from this new online world is the consumption of pornography by teens. The objective of this literature review is to draw attention to the consequences and emotional disturbances derived from the consumption of pornography in young people, as well as the forensic implications of this phenomenon, among which are paraphilias, perpetration, and victimization of sexual assaults, and the development of new forms of online sexual victimization. The main findings suggest that the first contact with pornography starts at the age of 8 years old, with important behavioral and psychological consequences, such as hypersexualization, emotional disturbances, and the perpetuation of gender inequality. Furthermore, pornography consumption by youth has been linked to the exacerbation of paraphilias, an increase in sexual aggression perpetration and victimization, and, finally, it has been linked to an increase in online sexual victimization. Implications and future lines of research are discussed.

 

Relevance

In some countries, the age of first exposure to online pornography now averages as young as 8 years old. The habitual use of pornography by adolescents can lead to a variety of harms, including: addiction to pornography, compulsive sexual behavior, high-risk sexual activity (e.g., sex without condoms), the development of paraphilias (e.g., voyeurism, exhibitionism, sexual sadism, pedophilia), and contacting strangers for sex. Adolescent use of pornography, too, can lead to sexual aggression perpetration and victimization, “unrealistic sexual beliefs and values,” unreal expectations about and difficulties with maintaining relationships, “the development of distorted ideas related to gender roles in sexual relationships (such as the belief that men are the dominant gender and women should act submissive or as a sexual object), and “the normalization of pathological sexual behaviors.”

 

Citation

Gassó, A. M., & Bruch-Granados, A. (2021). Psychological and Forensic Challenges Regarding Youth Consumption of Pornography: A Narrative Review. Adolescents, 1(2), 108-122.  https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents1020009