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Young People, Pornography & Age-verification

Full Article Name: Young People, Pornography & Age-verification

Open Access: Yes


This research was commissioned by the BBFC to provide context to the current online pornography landscape, as well as explore young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, pornography. The method was designed to qualitatively and quantitatively explore what children and parents think about a range of topics, from the effects of pornography to their attitudes towards age-verification. We found that a large number of young people seek out pornography for both sexual gratification and to learn about sex including ‘what’s normal’, whether or not this is helpful. However, many children reported having stumbled upon sexual content accidentally at a younger age which they found distressing at the time. We conducted an online survey, completed by a parent and their child, with a combined total of 2,284 respondents. We also held parent focus groups with 24 parents, in which parents discussed a range of topics in a group context. (1,142 parents, and 1,142 children aged 11 to 17). The survey was representative of children aged 11 to 17 in the UK. The most enlightening aspect of the research was our 36 qualitative depth interviews lasting two to three hours with 16- to 18-year-olds. We have also written two articles to accompany the report,  discussing further the overarching findings and questions arising from them, and explaining how we navigated the ethical difficulties of conducting this research.


    BBFC. (2020). Young people, pornography & age-verification.


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