The Internet, pornography, and youth

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The Internet, pornography, and youth

  1. 1. The Internet, pornography, and youth by Michele Ybarra, MPH PhD* Kimberly Mitchell, PhD ** American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Conference, October 9, 2005, Washington, DC *Center for Innovative Public Health Research **Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire * Thank you for your interest in this presentation. Please note that analyses included herein are preliminary. More recent, finalized analyses can be found in: Ybarra, M., & Mitchell, K. (2005). Exposure to internet pornography among children and adolescents: a national survey. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 8(5), 473-486, or by contacting CiPHR for further information.
  2. 2. Problem statement and Study question Beyond perception and belief, no information is available about linkages between purposeful exposure to pornography and psychosocial challenge. As the Internet is used by more and more young people, this information is evermore important. Study question: What are the personal characteristics of youth who seek out pornography?
  3. 3. Youth Internet Safety Study Methodology Study design:  National probability design  Cross-sectional  Telephone survey  Fall 1999 and Spring 2000  1,501 youth and caregiver pairs  82% participation among contacted and eligible households
  4. 4. Youth Internet Safety Study Methodology (Cont) Inclusion criteria:  10-17 years old  Use Internet at least once a month for the past 6 months  English speaking  Live in household for at least 2 weeks in previous year  Caregiver and youth consent
  5. 5. Defining intentional exposure Traditional exposures: a positive response to at least one of the three following actions: 1) 2) 3) Seeking x-rated books or materials; Watching x-rated movies; or Calling a 900 number. Online exposure: Visiting an x-rated website on purpose. All exposures are within the previous year. Respondents who reported both online and offline exposures were coded as ‘online seekers’
  6. 6. Analytic methodology Using multinomial logistical regression, the conditional odds of reporting either pornography seeking behavior versus nonseeking behavior is estimated given the report of:    Parental controls, Caregiver-child relationships, and Psychosocial characteristics of the child Results are adjusted for demographic characteristics.
  7. 7. Self-reported intentional exposure to pornography Offline-only exposure Online exposure No exposore 8% 7% 85%
  8. 8. Study sample characteristics Demographic characteristics No purposeful exposure Offline-only exposure Online exposure (7%, n = 106) (8%, n = 122) (85%, n = 1256) Statistical Comparison Older Age (14-17 yrs) 60.0% (753) 73.6% (78) 86.9% (106) X2 (2) = 40.0*** Male 47.3% (594) 79.3% (84) 86.9% (106) X2 (2) = 101.9*** X2 (4) = 1.9 Race White (Reference group) 77.3% (971) 73.6% (78) 76.2% (93) Black 10.8% (135) 76.2% (93) 9.0% (11) Other 11.9% (150) 11.3% (12) 14.8% (18) Hispanic ethnicity 7.3% (91) 4.7% (5) 8.2% (10) X2 (2) = 1.2 Income (>$75,000) 23.0% (289) 21.7% (23) 27.9% (34) X2 (2) = 1.6 *p-value<.05; **p-value<.01; ***p-value<.001
  9. 9. Findings: Parental controls Caregivers were asked whether they:  Had rules about Internet use  Ever checked the history function  Had blocking software on the home computer None were related to the report of pornography seeking behavior
  10. 10. Findings: Parent-child relationship 4.0 3.5 No exposure (Reference group) 3.6 Offline-only exposure *** Online exposure 3.0 2.6 2.5*** 2.5 2.1 *** *** 2.0 1.0 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.0 Frequent coercive discipline 1.0 Poor emotional bond *p-value<.05; **p-value<.01; ***p-value<.001 1.0 Low monitoring
  11. 11. Findings: Psychosocial characteristics 7.5 No exposure (Reference group) Offline-only exposure 6.5 6.3 ** 5.5 Online exposure *** 5.1 4.7 *** 4.5 *** 3.4 3.5 2.9 ** 2.5 1.5 0.5 1.0 Delinquent behavior 1.0 Substance use *p-value<.05; **p-value<.01; ***p-value<.001 1.0 0.9 Clinical features of depression
  12. 12. Findings: Psychosocial characteristics (cont) No exposure (Reference group) 2.4 2.2 2.2 *** Offline-only exposure Online exposure 2.0 1.9 ** 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.0 1.0 Physical or sexual victimization *p-value<.05; **p-value<.01; ***p-value<.001 1.0 Negative life experiences
  13. 13. Study Limitations Three measures of offline seeking versus one indicator of online seeking behavior Cross sectional data Exposure indicator does not reflect intensity of exposure Data collected in 1999 – 2000; possible trends have changed
  14. 14. Implications The vast majority of minors who use the Internet to look for sexual images are likely 14 years of age and older.
  15. 15. Implications Some youth who report intentionally seeking pornography may be facing multiple challenges:    Poor caregiver-child relationships, Delinquent behavior, and Substance use. Intentional exposure may be one behavior among many for some young people struggling in their adolescence.
  16. 16. Implications Providers should talk with young people who report pornography seeking behavior to assess whether it is a marker for greater challenge. Parents should focus on a healthy caregiverchild relationship, as this is most strongly related to pornography seeking behavior.

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