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11 to 14-Year-Olds Want to Mimic Sex Acts Shown in Porn, Survey Finds

The survey also showed that young people are as likely to see online porn accidentally as they are to actively search for it.

By December 7, 2020No Comments

It’s no secret that porn has become mainstream entertainment in our society.

From popular porn sites offering free premium subscriptions to those isolated indoors to sites like BuzzFeed normalizing porn with viral videos, it feels like porn is taking over. Porn is plastered all over social media sites like Instagram, and it’s too easy to see on Twitter considering the Twitterverse is home to an estimated 10+ million porn accounts. But just because there’s a ton of porn that’s accessible and available doesn’t guarantee that people, especially underage kids, are stumbling upon it, right? Not exactly.

According to quantitative analysis, and keep in mind it’s likely that under-reporting is involved, the following percentages of children reported being exposed to pornography according to 2020 research by the BBFC:

    • 51% of 11- to 13-year-olds
    • 66% of 14- to 15-year-olds
    • 79% of 16- to 17-year-olds

That’s a lot of underage exposure to an industry that claims to be “adult” entertainment.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) conducted a survey in 2016 of more than 1,000 children aged 11-16, and found that at least half had been exposed to online porn.

Of this group, almost all (94%) have seen it by age 14. The UK organization joined forces with Middlesex University to further study the impact of online porn on kids, in the largest study of its kind at that time.

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A desire to copy the behavior

Unsurprisingly, the effects of watching porn on the young boys were readily apparent.

Many boys revealed that they wanted to copy the behavior they had seen watching porn. More than a third (39%) of 13-14 year-olds who responded to this question—and a fifth of 11-12 of year-olds (21%)—wanted to repeat porn acts. The interesting part? These answers came despite more than 3/4 of the kids agreeing that porn didn’t help them understand consent.

How many children have watched porn?

Image via NSPCC

The survey also showed that young people are as likely to see online porn accidentally as they are to actively search for it. That means that with the amount of porn that’s online today, it is actually easier for a kid to stumble across it than to search for it on purpose. And for almost 2/3 of the children, this first exposure to porn happened right in their own home.

Related: The Percentage of 12-Year-Olds Who Admit Being Addicted To Porn Will Shock You

One of the most unsettling findings was that over half of the boys (53%) believed that the porn they had seen was realistic. They believed that what they saw in porn was an accurate depiction of sex and sexuality. This was in comparison to 39% of girls who believed the same.

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Competing with porn

Many of the young girls surveyed said they were worried about how porn would make boys see girls and the possible impact on attitudes to sex and relationships.

“It can make a boy not look for love, just look for sex and it can pressure us girls to act and look and behave in a certain way before we might be ready for it.”
– 13-year-old girl

Related: Sex Before Kissing – 15-Year-Old Girls Dealing With Porn Addicted Boys

How boys view porn

Image via NSPCC

how girls view porn

Image via NSPCC

Another unsurprising finding goes to show the escalating nature of porn viewing. Children described how their feelings towards porn have changed over time. 27% surveyed reported feeling “shocked” the first time they viewed it, but follow-up work revealed that just 8% remained shocked after the first time they watched it.

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Why this matters

This incredibly in-depth survey by the NSPCC (click here to read the full report) shows the massive role that porn is playing in the development of young kids’ understanding of sex these days. What they’re learning are skewed perceptions of sex and harmful attitudes about sexuality.

These issues aren’t going to change as long as society continues to deny the real, proven harms of porn and a vast majority of people believe the lie that it’s harmless. At one point in time, porn wasn’t a common issue that affected millions of people, much less all of society. It wasn’t a topic that needed to be discussed with such urgency. But, just by looking at these stats, it seems like those days are over.

Related: How Many People Are On Porn Sites Right Now? (Hint: It’s A Lot.)

Porn is a favorite past time for millions of consumers, and many of them have no idea what kind of harm they’re letting into their own lives, or the kind of exploitation they’re contributing to. Part of the reason they don’t know is that parents don’t start educating them with love, honesty, and openness from a young age.

But each person can choose to change that. We can raise awareness, and the good news is, each of us holds the power to change these numbers by being educated and decreasing the demand for sexual exploitation through awareness. Right now, the porn industry is simply supplying what people are demanding. The only way this changes is if people stop, re-examine reality, get educated about the real harmful effects of porn, and make a change in their lives to exclude porn.

By being educated and raising awareness on these findings, we can hopefully spare the next generation of the many harms that are sure to come due to this pornification of our society.

If this article inspired you to have a conversation with your partner or someone else about porn, check out our step-by-step interactive conversation guide, Let’s Talk About Porn, for tips.

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