Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
Youth in Australia are routinely exposed to sexually explicit images. Among 16- and 17-year-olds, three-quarters of boys and one-tenth of girls have ever watched an X-rated movie. Three-quarters of 16- and 17-year-olds have been exposed accidentally to pornographic websites, while 38 percent of boys and 2 percent of girls have deliberately accessed them. Internet pornography is a particularly pervasive source of minors’ exposure to pornography, both accidental and deliberate. Two features of children’s exposure to pornography mirror those among adults. First, males are more likely to seek out, and are more frequent consumers of, both X-rated movies and pornographic websites. Second, Internet users of any age find it difficult to avoid unwanted encounters with sexually explicit materials.
Internet-enabled devices have indiscriminately allowed people of all ages to encounter, consume, create, and distribute sexually explicit content, and a growing body of data reveal these phenomena are increasingly common for adolescents worldwide (Flood, 2007; H¨aggstr¨om-Nordin, Sanberg, Hanson, & Tyd´en, 2006; Lo & Wei, 2005; Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2007)