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Porn makes sex, relationships more difficult

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porn, sex, relationshipsYoung people ‘want improved sex and relationship advice and support’.

With today’s young people growing up with many digital technologies that weren’t previously available, parents and teachers are having to navigate, while guiding and educating within, a complex climate of rapidly evolving technology and social norms.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently surveyed 500 18 year-olds about their sexual activities and relationships in order to gain a better understanding of where ‘evidence indicates more could be done to support young people’s happiness and safety in formative relationships in a digital world.’

The survey also helped gauge the perceived effectiveness of the education and support the young people had received.

Broadly, the majority of young people surveyed said that pornography is too easily accessed and too influential, harming them and their relationships.

Eight out of 10 said that it is too easy to accidentally see pornography online.

Two-thirds of young women (66 per cent) said that ‘it would be easier growing up if pornography was less easy to access for young people.’

Not quite half of the young men surveyed (49 per cent) agreed.

Of the young women surveyed, 75 per cent said they believe that pornography has led to pressure on young women to act a certain way, and 77 per cent say they believe pornography has led to pressure on girls to look a certain way.

Only 56 per cent of the young men surveyed agreed that pornography puts pressure on young women to act a certain way.

Forty-five per cent of the young men surveyed said that pornography helps young people learn about sex.

Only 29 per cent of young women agreed.

It is clear that pornography is creating pressure on young people, particularly young women, to act and portray themselves in certain ways.

Following the findings of the research, IPPR outlined three ways in which the challenges identified by young people could be met:

Use the expertise of specialists to provide broader and better sex and relationship education;

Provide a single point of access to advice and support for parents, educators and young people; and

Broaden local authorities’ responsibility for public sexual health.

IPPR said that its research, ‘alongside other evidence, highlights the role of the images, stereotypes and norms that young people are continuously exposed to.

‘It is clear that there is a relationship between this culture and the way that societal and gender norms are set around sex and relationships,’ and ‘it is clear that young people want to talk about sex and relationships and want more support.’

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