Adolescent Research: Teens and Pornography – Attitudes and Usage

A recent study released by the Josh McDowell Ministry has unveiled current findings about teens and young adults, and pornography. According to the ministry’s press release, the study is the “most comprehensive, in-depth and wide-ranging study to date on pornography among the American population.”

Key findings of the new study included:

• Twice as many young adults ages 25-30 first viewed pornography before puberty than did the previous generation (Gen X).
• Teens aged 13-17 are watching more pornography and seeking it out more than any other generation, with 8% viewing porn daily, 18% weekly, and 17% once or twice a month.
• 8% of teens say they come across porn daily even when they aren’t seeking it out, 21% do so weekly, and 21% say they do so once or twice a week.
• When teens talk about pornography with friends, 90% say they do so in an either neutral, accepting, or encouraging way.
• Less than one-third (32%) of teens and young adults say that viewing pornography is “usually or always wrong” compared to more than half (56%) who say not recycling is “usually or always wrong.”
• Only one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.
• Most teens and young adults have been involved in “sexting,” with 66% saying they have received a sexually explicit image, and 41% have sent one.

What Can Parents Do?
• Assume your teen will be exposed to pornography on a regular basis (whether intentionally or unintentionally.)
• Understand the difference between a teen who stumbles upon online pornography and a teen who seeks it out. React appropriately based on behavior.
• Make pornography a topic of in-depth discussion with your teens.
• Set clear expectations for online behavior regarding pornography.
• If your teen is regularly viewing pornography consider using an accountability tool such as the ones found on xxxchurch.com.

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Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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