Teens and Pornography
January 10, 2023
Engaging with pornography has been a rite of passage in many teens' exploration of sex, but since the early days of the internet, their access to the digital world has stoked concerns from parents and caregivers. Some worry that kids will stumble across pornography when they're too young to understand it, and others are concerned that older teens' exposure to pornography will influence unrealistic or even dangerous representations of what healthy sexual relationships look like.
This new report explores how a demographically representative sample of teens in the United States engaged with or experienced pornography online, from how old they were when they first encountered it, to how it impacts their views on sex and sexual relationships. The report confirms that the majority of teen respondents age 13–17 have watched pornography online—and some have seen it by age 10 or younger. And while some have discovered it accidentally, a significant number of teens said they were viewing online pornography intentionally on a regular basis.
The results of this research confirm a very important point: It's time for us to talk about pornography. We need to consider conversations with teens about pornography the same way we think of conversations about sex, social media, drug and alcohol use, and more. That said, pornography isn't for kids, and work must be done to ensure they do not encounter it accidentally.