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Texting naked pictures is normal, say half of British teenagers

SCI & TECH
By Mirror | August 20th 2014

Almost half of Britain’s teenagers say it is normal to send or post sexual or naked photos, a survey has found.

The shocking poll also reveals that the surge in online pornography is putting damaging pressure on the country’s young people, especially teenage girls.

It found the majority of 18 year olds are concerned about internet porn, saying it is “pressuring” and “unrealistic.”

Eight out of ten believe it is too easy for young people to accidentally see pornography on the web, the Opinium survey for the IPPR think tank shows.

More than seven out of ten teenagers say they have watched X-rated images on line, with many saying it became common when they were 13-15 years old, while almost half (46 per cent) say “ sending sexual or naked photos or videos is part of everyday life for teenagers nowadays.”

Seven out of ten (72 per cent) 18 year olds say “pornography leads to unrealistic attitudes to sex” and that “pornography can have a damaging impact on young people’s views of sex or relationships” (70 per cent).

They also voice fears about the impact on their lives, with two thirds (66 per cent) saying “people are too casual about sex and relationships.”

The poll also showed a big difference in attitudes between young men and young women.

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Almost eight out of ten teenage girls (77 per cent) say “pornography has led to pressure on girls or young women to look a certain way.” And 75 per cent say “pornography has led to pressure on girls and young women to act a certain way.”

But teenage boys had a very different attitude to online porn, with 45 per cent claiming that “pornography helps young people learn about sex,” compared to 29 per cent of young women.

And only 21% of young men think that “pornography leads to unrealistic attitudes to sex”, compared to 40% of teenage girls.

Just 18% of teenage boys believe that “pornography encourages society to view women as sex objects”.

The polling also shows the vast majority (86 per cent) of today’s teenagers want more sex education and relationship lessons in school.

Dalia Ben-Galim, IPPR Associate Director, said: “This new polling data shows that pornographic images are pervasive in teenagers’ lives and that young women in particular are acutely conscious of how damaging they can be.

“It paints a worrying picture about the way online pornography is shaping the attitudes and behaviour of young people.

“It is also clear that young people believe the sex education they currently get in school hasn’t kept pace with the realities of their digital and social media lifestyles.

“Young people want sex education that includes relationships, taught by experts, preferably who are visiting the school rather than having to discuss these issues with their teachers or their parents.”

Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive at Relate, said: “The relationship skills we build as young people are crucial to how we form our couple, family, social and professional relationships later in life.

“But the way those early relationships are conducted has changed immeasurably in the last ten years, leaving a gulf between this generation and the previous ones – as exemplified in today’s polling with 61 per cent of young

people saying adults are out of touch with young people’s relationships and friendships, and 56% saying adults find it hard to understand or help with online issues.

“That’s why high quality, consistent relationships and sex education in schools is so important. We must get the right experts helping young people to understand what building blocks are needed for strong relationships, and ensure that what they’re being taught is applicable in the digital age.

“The need for trust, communication and honesty has not changed, but it’s imperative that the relationships and sex education delivered is tailored to how young people now live.”

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