Exposure to internet pornography among children/teenagers

As the internet gains increasing prominence in the lives of young people, their exposure to sexual materials also raises.


. Child and adolescent exposure to pornography is a controversial issue, and the influence on their behavior is a major topic for the psychologists.

This study focuses on different aspects of children/teenagers exposure to sexually explicit materials found on internet. For this, and because of ethical reasons, a sample of 1570 adults from 5 countries was used, all of them being parents. Regarding the age of participants, 3 classes were defined, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Child Pornography

Figure 1: Sample structure – age

The parents were interviewed about themselves and their children habits regarding the Internet activities, especially those related to sexually explicit materials.


The first step was to find out the age of the children/teenagers and their parents’ behavior related to internet pornography.

Three major classes of children/adolescents were obtained- as a function of their age: 7-10 year (6%), 11-15 year (82%) and 15-18 (12%). Regarding their parents behavior on internet, 62% of adults recognized that they are accessing adult content sites or other sexually explicit material (videos, online magazines, etc), with an average frequency of 2-5 times per month.

Asked if they allow them to access on internet this kind of materials, 87% gave and affirmative answers, and only 13% disagreed with this activity. But, don’t think that the parents are so permissive: they would allow their children to look for sexual explicit materials only after they are 19 years old!

But, as many go out for wool and come home shorn, the reality proved totally different. They already observed their children accessing this kind of materials (95%), and the mean age when the child starts to look for these sites is 11.3 year.

The children are looking for pornographic materials especially when they are doing their homework (81%) and when their parents are out of town (17%).

Parental Control – an important issue

When came the moment to discuss about parents’ actions in order to protect their children from Internet dangers, an impressive majority (97%) responded that they are following their child/children activity on the social networks and know exactly to whom they are chatting online. They installed on the systems dedicated software for Parental Control, and they are regular checking the browser history.

But still, 12% from teenagers succeeded to uninstall or unlock the software used by their parents to control the internet activity.


Moral of the story:

You cannot kill a child’s curiosity, but you can protect him/her installing Parental Control software on the computer.


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About the author

Sabina DATCU

Sabina Datcu, PhD has background training in Applied Informatics and Statistics, Biology and Foreign Languages and Literatures. In 2003 she obtained a master degree in Systems Ecology and in 2009 a PhD degree in Applied Informatics and Statistics.
Since 2001, she was involved in University of Bucharest's FP 5 and FP6 European projects, as researcher in Information and Knowledge Management field.

In 2009, she joined the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender as technology writer and researcher, and started to write a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases.