The recent Opinium survey*, conducted on 18-year-olds, has found that prolific online pornography, is negatively affecting them.
The study highlights the concerning issue, that teens are feeling pressurised to conform to the appearance and behaviour depicted (as the norm) in pornography.
80% felt that access to explicit online porn was too easy.
Two thirds thought that pornography was addictive.
46% believed that the practice of sending sexual images of yourself to others ‘sexting’ was ‘part of everyday life’.
66% of girls and 48% of boys felt that it would be ‘easier growing up’ if it was harder to gain access to pornography.
70% said that watching porn was normal among their peers; 10% stated that the practise began at 11 years old.
55% said that they had accidently stumbled across porn while surfing the net and that the experience had left them feeling ‘worried or uncomfortable.’ Of these only 10% had told their parents about the unsettling experience.
72% expressed concern that porn was commonplace and that it led to ‘unrealistic attitudes’ to sex. 70% said that as a result, women were viewed as ‘sex objects.’
In a similar vain, two-thirds of females said porn pressurised females to i) look and ii) act in a certain way. For males, the result was i) 61 and ii) 56 percent respectively.
45% of males and 30% of females viewed porn as a way of ‘learning’ about sex. 16% admitted that pornography websites was their main source of information (sex and relationships); 26 % cited the internet as a whole. Only 22% stated that they obtained information from their parents.
In regards to the bigger question of relationships, two thirds felt that the majority of people’s attitude towards sex and relationships was too casual. 86% felt that the relationships should be taught in schools. 40% wanted it delivered by an external expert with only 20% saying that it should be delivered by teachers.
*The Opinium survey was commissioned by the Institute for Public Policy Research.