What's the risk?
The risks of pornography have been well researched and documented. When children's sexual education begins or ends with pornography, the negative impacts can be extensive. Adult content has the potential to condition children's attitudes and beliefs about sexual relationships and behavior, with clear links to strengthening attitudes of sexual violence, and violence towards women in particular. A longitudinal study found that of teens aged 16-18, pornography viewing normalized their belief that it was acceptable for sexual experiences to be painful, risky, or coercive. Even more alarmingly, studies on the typical themes of pornographic films have found that roughly 88% of pornographic videos depict violence, where 94% of the violent behaviour was directed at women, and 95% of the violence was met with a pleasure response. This content is resulting in the development of normative views held by young people that sexual aggression is a socially appropriate behavior.
Pornography impacts young children in different ways. Predominately, exposure to adult content results in significant stress responses in children, often inducing fear or sparking further curiosity. It is absolutely essential that all parents are taking steps to protect children and teenagers from access (whether intentional or accidental) to content that is designed for adults.