The exposure of youth to unwanted sexual material on the Internet - A national survey of risk, impact, and prevention

Academic Article


  • This national survey of youth, ages 10 to 17, and their caretakers has several implications for the current debate about young people and Internet pornography. Twenty five percent of youth had unwanted exposure to sexual pictures on the Internet in the past year, challenging the prevalent assumption that the problem is primarily about young people motivated to actively seek out pornography. Most youth had no negative reactions to their unwanted exposure, but one quarter said they were very or extremely upset, suggesting a priority need for more research on and interventions directed toward such negative effects. The use of filtering and blocking software was associated with a modest reduction in unwanted exposure, suggesting that it may help but is far from foolproof. Various forms of parental supervision were not associated with any reduction in exposure. The authors urge that social scientific research be undertaken to inform this highly contentious public policy controversy.
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 2003
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • Youth and Society  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Internet
  • adolescence
  • pornography
  • victimization
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 330
  • End Page

  • 358
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 3