The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research


Owens, Eric W.; Behun, Richard J.; Manning, Jill C.; and Reid, Rory C.


2012 in Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Vol. 19(1-2), pp. 99-122

  • This review article examined dozens of studies looking at the impact of Internet pornography on sexual attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and sexual aggression.
  • This review also examined the negative influence of sexually explicit Internet material on self-esteem and body image.
The recent proliferation of Internet-enabled technology has significantly changed the way adolescents encounter and consume sexually explicit material. Once confined to a personal computer attached to a telephone line, the Internet is now available on laptops, mobile phones, video game consoles, and other electronic devices. With the growth of the Internet has come easier and more ubiquitous access to pornography. The purpose of this article was to review the recent (i.e., 2005 to present) literature regarding the impact... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • "Increased access to the Internet by adolescents has created unprecedented opportunities for sexual education, learning, and growth. Conversely, the risk of harm that is evident in the literature has led researchers to investigate adolescent exposure to online pornography in an effort to elucidate these relationships. Collectively, these studies suggest that youth who consume pornography may develop unrealistic sexual values and beliefs. Among the findings, higher levels of permissive sexual attitudes, sexual preoccupation, and earlier sexual experimentation have been correlated with more frequent consumption of pornography."
  • "The literature does indicate some correlation between adolescents’ use of pornography and self-concept. Girls report feeling physically inferior to the women they view in pornographic material, while boys fear they may not be as virile or able to perform as the men in these media. Adolescents also report that their use of pornography decreased as their self-confidence and social development increase. Additionally, research suggests that adolescents who use pornography, especially that found on the Internet, have lower degrees of social integration, increases in conduct problems, higher levels of delinquent behavior, higher incidence of depressive symptoms, and decreased emotional bonding with caregivers."
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