Pornography & Young People: An Insight from North-East England

Aylssa Cowell Youth Work Service Manager Streetwise Young Peoples Project

• Streetwise is an advice, counselling, sexual health & support service for young people aged 13 – 25 based in Newcastle • Work with around 17,000 young people each year • Design resources, undertake research & provide training to other professionals in the north-east

Pornography & Young People – The Research
• Have been surveying young people around porn since 2005 • 4 surveys completed - Sex Survey 2005/2006, ‘Am I Ready?’ (2007) & The Porn Survey (2008) • Over 1100 young people surveyed in total • Use research to adapt our services to the needs of young people and to help us design resources/training

The Findings
• Young people accessing porn has increased year on year – young women are more likely to report watching it now then in 2005 • Average age of first watching is 12, however 25% reported viewing under 10 • Technology has made it easier to access: internet & mobiles phones are the most common way of viewing

Young People & Extreme Pornography

Does Porn Affect Sexual Behaviour?
• 80% believed porn affected the way they had, or thought they were going to have sex “well I don’t use it for wanking and that, cos that’s just sad – I use it to get ideas... for education!” (young man 18)

Does Porn Affect Sexual Behaviour?

‘Sexting’ and Under 18’s
• Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it illegal for sexually explicit photographs etc to be taken of under 18’s. • Technology makes it easy for young people to photograph themselves/others

Used a Webcam to show yourself intimately?
17 16 Age 15 14 13 0 20 40 % 60 80 100 no yes

Posed for Sexually Explicit Photos?
17 16 Age 15 14 13 0 20 40 % 60 80 100 no yes

Been filmed undertaking a sex act?
17 16 Age 15 14 13 0 20 40 % 60 80 100 no yes

Have you ever sent someone sexually explicit image or films of yourself?
17 16 15 14 13 0 20 40 60 80 100 no yes

32% of Under 18’s surveyed had distributed a sexually explicit image or film of themselves. These were generally sent to boy/girlfriends of similar age.

9% of these had had an image or film of themselves distributed without their permission “I said no but he did it anyway” (young

Case Studies
• Young woman 17, being blackmailed to keep in contact with an exboyfriend otherwise he will send her photos to her family • Young women 15 sending photos of their breasts to young men to have them bluetoothed across the school • Young men sending photos of their penises to young women they fancy & vice versa • Young man 14 caught searching for 14 year olds having sex on the

• Young people have increasing access to porn & production methods • Some can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy putting pressures on partners • Sexual health advice is not covering fisting and anal sex for heterosexuals • High numbers of under 18’s are filming and photographing themselves and passing them on. Social & legal consequences?

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