Web Pornography's Effect On Children

If there’s one thing people like about using the Internet, it’s the quick access to information that it provides. The problem here is that some people, like children for instance, may – and can access information that is not suitable for them. Like web pornography, for example.

Critics, and especially parents, worry about the impact of web porn on children and teens.

Investigators hesitate to look into the “validity of these concerns” and explore this issue, due to its “morally loaded nature,” the “methodological challenges of Web pornography’s effect on children,” and the difficulty in establishing whether exposure to online porn can actually change sexual attitudes and behavior.

Sociologist David Finkelhor, PhD, director of the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Crimes Against Children Research Center says that “We need a lot more research to keep tabs on this phenomenon and to separate hype from reality.”

To give this matter some perspective, Finkelhor and his team studied a variety of social trend indicators during the time when the issue of Internet use among children rose – 1996-2005 and discovered that teens, contrary to popular belief, are actually showing “healthier behaviors in areas that might be negatively influenced by greater access to Internet porn.”

“There have been drops in crime, drops in teen pregnancy, increases in the number of kids who say they’re virgins, declines in various kinds of victimization and less running away,” Finkelhor says. “You have to hold that image on one hand as you’re confronting all of the things that are happening online.”

Having said that, some studies are starting to establish connections between Web porn use among young people and sexual attitudes or behaviors. The findings of these studies indicate that those who visit porn sites more frequently are more include to view sex as a “purely physical function” and to regard women as sex objects. Studies also found that these web porn frequenters also tend to hold such notions if they perceive the material as more realistic.



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