• Sat
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:26am

Internet porn viewed by 80pc of youngsters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am

Eighty per cent of adolescents have accessed pornography online, with a fifth making their first visit by the age of 10, a survey has found.

The average age at which respondents first downloaded internet porn was 11.9, with most doing so at home.

The findings prompted an expert to call for a comprehensive review of sex education.

Some 43.2 per cent of respondents said they gained access to sexual content through pop-up adverts. Salacious online forums, chat rooms and comic websites were also common ways to view such material.

The findings show that 86.4 per cent of adolescents visit pornographic websites at home.

Chung Kim-wah, an assistant professor in the department of applied social sciences at Polytechnic University who led the research, said private computers increased privacy and the likelihood of users accessing online pornography.

Some 18.9 per cent of the youngsters looked at porn online for entertainment, 14 per cent used it to learn about sex, while 10.7 per cent said it satisfied their sexual needs.

The lack of sex education and support from schools was noticeable, as 43.7 per cent said their schools had not taught them how to deal with online pornography. Among those who had received sex education at school, 39.2 per cent agreed the educational material had helped them.

The study was carried out by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Community Services Division and the Centre for Social Policy Studies at Polytechnic University's department of applied social sciences. Some 1,426 questionnaires were received from pupils studying in Form Two to Four. Also, focus group interviews were held with pupils, parents and teachers.

Tammy Sin Chui-shan, a community services officer at the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, called for a comprehensive review of the sex-education curriculum.

'Sex education shouldn't only focus on the knowledge of physiological changes at puberty but should also embrace moral education, through which adolescents can learn how to respect each other,' she said. 'The new sex-education curriculum should begin as early as Primary Five.'

She said teachers needed much more training so they would have the skills needed to convey the right messages to students. Teachers say they face obstacles, including heavy workloads, the design of the sex-education curriculum and a lack of openness in some schools.

The study also suggested that parents receive sex education because many of them did not have enough knowledge to teach their children.

Dr Chung said internet service providers could help to curb the problem by strengthening internet filters, blocking pop-ups with sexual content and publishing warnings on websites.

He said pornography had not been rigidly defined in the survey, rather it let respondents set their own definitions. This enabled them to gauge what the youngsters considered to be pornography.

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