“Statistically speaking, your teen has already seen it.”
Have you seen this billboard around your town lately? If you have, you might be wondering what teen has already seen, and where the source is to back up this claim. Allow us to explain.
A report titled “Teens and Pornography” put together by Common Sense includes data collected from teens 13-17 years old with various backgrounds. Of the teens surveyed, three-quarters said they had seen porn and that this exposure shapes how they view sex and sexual relationships.
All participants who reported seeing porn said they were exposed by age 12.Another 15% said they saw it for the first time when they were 10 years old or younger. Most teens (73%) reported that they have consumed pornography.
Finding porn is easier than ever
Pornography used to be much more difficult to access. Today teens can access hardcore porn with one click. From the same report, of those who have seen online pornography, 44% of teens reported that they viewed it intentionally. In comparison, 58% said they viewed it accidentally, a majority saying their accidental encounter came from clicking a link, a search engine result, an online ad, or on social media in some way.
Whether they want to see it or not, these teens, just 13-17 years old, often have no choice.
And consider this. If most 11-year-olds have smartphones, is it really all that surprising that, sometimes, they encounter porn online whether they’re looking for it or not?
Porn at school
While these statistics regarding porn consumption are concerning, what’s more alarming is how pornography, for many respondents, is part of the everyday school experience.
Overall, 30% of all teens (41% of teens who said they had been exposed to pornography) reported that they had been exposed during the school day, most teens (60%) reported they saw it several times a month, and (40%) said they saw it at school weekly, some from school-issued devices.
These survey statistics further show that teens who attend private schools are almost twice as likely to be exposed to porn during school versus those in public schools.
Pornography has so profoundly infiltrated teen culture that it’s become just part of the everyday school experience. We know kids are accessing more pornography at school than ever before, but we have yet to scratch the surface of what the consequences of viewing this type of content at school could mean. How is pornography impacting learning, and how is it altering school safety and culture?
If you are a parent, educator, or administrator seeking a solution in your circle for this ever-growing issue, we invite you to consider our age-appropriate live presentation program.
How porn harms
Besides feeling unhealthy feelings of shame, this report revealed that the top reason teens intentionally consumed porn was that they thought porn could better help them understand their sexual preferences.
About half, 45%, of the participants said that pornography gives helpful information about sex, and another 45% said they watch to “find out what arouses and excites them.”
Respondents also said they have also learned via porn “how to have sex” (79%), “about human bodies and anatomy” (79%), and the “types of behaviors … likely to feel pleasurable” (73%) and “not pleasurable” (60%) to a partner.
That’s concerning—especially considering how toxic and harmful porn can be. One 2021 study, for example, found that at least 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn videos show sexual violence or aggression.
And this is where they are learning how to have sex.
From the “Teens and Pornography” report, 52% of teens who consume pornography said they’d seen pornography depicting what appears to be rape, choking, or someone in pain. Additionally, just 1 in 3 reported seeing someone ask for consent before engaging in sexual activity.
So while teens are turning to porn to learn about sex, instead, they are learning unhealthy, unrealistic toxic views on sex, but there’s more.
Respondents also reported viewing racial and ethnic stereotypes in pornography. Over 50% said they encountered pornography depicting Black people in a stereotypical way “often” or “sometimes,” and many reported seeing pornography stereotypes when portraying Latino/a/x people (50%), Asian people (46%), and Middle Eastern people (26%). Additionally, more than 50% report seeing porn that shows stereotypical displays of gender and sexual orientation.
In addition to fostering dangerous views on sex and tolerance for discrimination, violence, and racism, we know through years of academic research pornography’s impact on mental health, relationships, and society, including fueling the demand for sex trafficking.
Youth-Focused Presentation Program
This engaging, unique, shame-free presentation focuses on providing individuals, especially youth, the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding pornography. Specifically crafted for each audience, we’ve presented to middle schools, junior highs, high schools, colleges, and various community groups worldwide. We have a parent-specific presentation to help educate parents and guardians on the harms of porn and how to talk with their kids. Start the conversation in your school or community with a Fight the New Drug presentation.
Teens are more vulnerable to the dangers of pornography than ever before, but there are things we can do. It’s up to us to rise up and spread awareness on the harms of pornography in our own communities.
Access the full report “Teens and Pornography”, referred to throughout this article, by Common Sense.
The benefits of a youth presentation on porn
Now more than ever before, porn has become normalized in our digital world. Because of this, awareness and education on its well-documented negative impacts has become increasingly important.
Research suggests that school staff and administrators see pornography as a serious issue that affects their school’s cultural climate surrounding sexual violence, and that education programs on porn help them feel more confident in addressing the issue and preventing sexual harassment.
We take a three-dimensional approach to raising awareness on the harmful effects of pornography in society, so in addition to creating tools and resources for our global supporter base to share, we also love getting face-to-face with people in their schools and cities to provide research-backed information on this important issue. Fight the New Drug’s age-appropriate and engaging presentations highlight research from respected academic institutions that demonstrates the significant impacts of porn consumption on individuals, relationships, and society.
Offering presentations customized for each audience, all Fight the New Drug presentations align with our mission as a non-religious and non-legislative organization educating with science, facts, and personal accounts.
We can provide engaging, empowering, and educational presentations for these types of audiences:
- Middle School/Junior High
- High School
Consider booking Fight the New Drug for your next live presentation or youth education event.
What are the learning outcomes?
Every school, community, parent, or conference presentation will equip attendees with comprehensive, age-appropriate information about:
- How porn impacts the brain
- How porn can harm relationships
- How porn affects society
- Healthy conversations about porn
- Free resources—educational and recovery
We empower audiences to make educated decisions that can better equip them to love themselves, have healthy relationships, and make a positive difference in the world.