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Parents, Be Aware: Researchers Found Link Between Watching Porn And Harmful Sexual Behavior In Young Teens

First Posted: Nov 29, 2016 04:20 AM EST
Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal
A teenage girl, who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse and alleged grooming, poses in Rotherham.
(Photo : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A new study has revealed that young people who watch pornography, which can be easily accessed on their smartphones and other devices, have a greater chance of sexually abusing another child or young person. With this said, it is safe to say that parents should be aware of what their children are watching/doing.

For other people, watching pornography in their young adult age may be normal. However, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia found that young people who had sexually abused other children reported that helping them manage pornography and improving sex education could have helped them prevent their abusive behavior.

"The access that young people are having to pornography, as well as our collective 'turning a blind eye,' is akin to a kind of cultural grooming of children," said study lead author Gemma McKibbin.

For the study, researchers asked 14 young people what could have been different in their lives so that they did not develop harmful sexual behavior. Sexually abusive behavior occurs when a child or young person sexually abuses another child or young person, according to Indian Express.

Past studies have shown that about 50 percent of the victims of child-on-child sexual abuse are under the age of six, while the children who abuse are themselves likely to be aged just 12. Among the young people who participated in the study, there were 12 who said that they had been exposed to pornography, while three of the boys directly attributed their sexually abusive behavior to their pornography consumption.

"We can't on the one hand say we don't want to talk with young children about sexuality, while on the other hand do nothing about the multi-billion dollar pornography industry and the telecommunications industry that is enabling access," McKibbin said.

"It may be that government needs to intervene at this point. Pornography can't be seen as the sole responsibility of parents or schools because it has gone way beyond that. We probably need to engage directly with the pornography industry and the telecommunications industry," she added.

According to Economic Times, the study also pointed out that there is a need to improve sex education as a way to promote respectful sexual relationships and oppose to the distorted messages they received from pornography.

"Consistent, protective sex education needed to be introduced as soon as children started school, if not before," McKibbin said in a university statement.

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