Hooked on porn

And it’s not just males

Herald Sun - - NEWS - LUCIE VAN DEN BERG lucie.van­den­berg@news.com.au @Lu­cie_VDB

ALMOST 90 per cent of young Aus­tralian males are watching pornog­ra­phy on their com­put­ers and mo­bile phones daily or weekly.

The largest study into youth view­ing habits in more than a decade shows that while women were less likely to watch ex­plicit acts than men, 20 per cent did so reg­u­larly.

Public health pro­fes­sion­als are con­cerned that the ex­po­sure to pornog­ra­phy may lead young peo­ple to en­gage in riskier sex­ual prac­tices, in­clud­ing not us­ing con­doms.

Young ed­u­cated males were more likely to watch pornog­ra­phy fre­quently, the study by Mel­bourne’s Bur­net In­sti­tute found. Almost 1000 Aus­tralians aged 15 to 29 and re­cruited via social media an­swered an on­line ques­tion­naire.

Over­all, 87 per cent of them had watched pornog­ra­phy — the me­dian age of their first view­ing was 13 for boys but 16 for girls.

Stream­ing pornog­ra­phy daily or weekly was the norm for 84 per cent of young men.

While Aus­tralian law pro­hibits peo­ple un­der 18 view­ing pornog­ra­phy, lead au­thor Dr Me­gan Lim said the find­ings in­di­cated that laws and other bar­ri­ers — such as age ver­i­fi­ca­tion and in­ter­net fil­ter­ing soft­ware and parental mon­i­tor­ing — were not re­duc­ing ex­po­sure.

“The in­ter­net re­ally has changed the na­ture of pornog­ra­phy view­ing and fre­quency,” Dr Lim said. “There is con­cern that chil­dren are be­ing ex­posed to a lot of ex­plicit con­tent, chang­ing not only their per­cep­tions of sex, but their sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ences.”

The find­ings are published in the Aus­tralian and New Zealand Jour­nal of Public Health jour­nal to­day.

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