WASHINGTON (BP)–A new study has a bit of good news and lots of bad news for parents worried that their children are being exposed to sex online.
The good news? Most kids say they aren’t exposed to a lot of sexual material on the Internet.
The bad news? Most kids say the opposite about television and music.
As reported in USA Today, between 16 and 25 percent of children say they are exposed to sexual material on the Internet, while 75 percent say they are exposed to it on TV and 69 percent in their music. The data is from a study that will be published in the journal Pediatrics. The director of the study, Michele Ybarra of Internet Solutions for Kids, is conducting a longitudinal study, following a group of about 1,500 kids for six years.
She presented her study at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting.
“We’re following them through adolescence to understand how exposure to technology and experiences in technology are influencing their behavior,” Ybarra was quoted as saying.
Her study also had another bit of good news: only 5 percent of kids have participated in “sexting.” Other polling has had that percentage much higher.
But the study doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t take precautions. In fact, other data suggests that porn is a major problem among kids, teens and young adults.
In 2009, the fourth-most searched word on the Internet for kids ages 7 and under was “porn,” according to data by OnlineFamily.Norton.com. For all kids — those up to age 18 — sex was No. 4, porn No. 5.
A 2008 study of undergraduate and graduate students ages 18-26 showed that 69 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women viewed pornography more than once a month. The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Research.