Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet (2006)

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doi: 10.1177/0093650205285369

Communication Research April 2006 vol. 33 no. 2 178-204

Jochen Peter University of Amsterdam, Patti M. Valkenburg University of Amsterdam


Drawing on a survey of 745 Dutch adolescents ages 13 to 18, the authors investigated (a) the occurrence and frequency of adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit material on the Internet and (b) the correlates of this exposure. Seventy-one percent of the male adolescents and 40% of the female adolescents had been exposed to some kind of online sexually explicit material in the 6 months prior to the interview. Adolescents were more likely to be exposed to sexually explicit material online if they were male, were high sensation seekers, were less satisfied with their lives, were more sexually interested, used sexual content in other media more often, had a fast Internet connection, and had friends that were predominantly younger. Among male adolescents, a more advanced pubertal status was also associated with more frequent exposure to online sexually explicit material. Among female adolescents, greater sexual experience decreased exposure to online sexually explicit material.

From - The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research (2012)

  • Relative to other media, the Internet is considered a highly sexualized environment (Cooper, Boies, Maheu, & Greenfield, 1999; Peter & Valkenburg, 2006a), and research has shown significant increases in the number of youth who are intentionally or accidentally encountering pornographic material online (Mitchell, Wolak, & Finkelhor, 2007; Wolak et al., 2007).