Three-Quarters of Teenagers Have Seen Online Pornography by Age 17

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“This generation of parents are dealing with things that no other generation has had to deal with — the amount of access to information in the hands of kids,” Dr. Viramontez said.

In the Common Sense survey, teenagers said much of the content they saw was disturbing. Only one in three said the pornography included someone asking for consent before engaging in sexual activity. Fewer than half said they discussed pornography with a trusted adult. Of those who did, the conversation “encouraged them to think about ways to explore sex or sexuality other than porn,” according to the report.

Teenagers who intentionally sought pornography said their top sources were sites like PornHub and YouPorn. Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit and other social media sites ranked second as sources for pornography.

Instagram, Snap and TikTok ban sexually explicit material. But the sites have been used for promotions that link to pornography sites. They also bar individuals from directing users to pornography on other platforms.

In December, YouTube banned PornHub’s channel for repeatedly violating its policy that forbids links to websites that violate YouTube’s community guidelines, such as pornography. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has a similar ban on outside links and said its algorithms were designed to limit the spread of sexually explicit content.

A YouTube spokesperson said its policy was to “strictly prohibit the posting of explicit content, such as pornography, that is intended to be sexually gratifying on our platform.” Meta said Facebook and Instagram had controls that automatically made it harder for teenagers to search for and find sexually suggestive content.

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