Exposure to Internet Pornography among Taiwanese Adolescents

By Chen, An-Sing; Leung, Mark et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, February 2013 | Go to article overview

Exposure to Internet Pornography among Taiwanese Adolescents


Chen, An-Sing, Leung, Mark, Chen, Chih-Hao, Yang, Shu Ching, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Recently, researchers have begun to explore the physical, psychological, sexual, and other problems resulting from intentional versus unintentional exposure to Internet pornography (IP). The amount of academic research on the effects of IP has increased but scholars have mainly addressed the effects on adult users (Goodson, McCormick, & Evans, 2001; Thornburgh & Lin, 2002). In addition, very few studies have been focused on the effects of IP on adolescents, let alone young people in Asia (see e.g., Chen, 2005; Lam & Chan, 2007; Lo & Wei, 2005).

The principal research aims in our study were as follows. First, we explored IP usage, IP-seeking activities, IP experience, IP exposure characteristics, motivations for IP exposure, and perceptions of IP among Taiwanese senior high school students. We believed that our focus on adolescents and use of a sample from a non-Western country should provide additional insights to those in the existing IP literature which could differ in many important aspects from those obtained from the use of samples of adults from developed Western countries. Second, we investigated possible gender differences as they relate to IP experiences, intentionality of IP exposure, and views about IP. Third, we analyzed issues concerning intentional versus unintentional exposure to IP, differences between urban and nonurban youths with respect to the various aspects of IP already listed, and how IP relates to discussions with parents about sexual intercourse. We further examined the characteristics of adolescents with intentional IP experience in relation to a variety of background variables such as gender, parental educational level, peer group, and geographic location (urbanization).

Prior researchers have confirmed the existence of dissimilar patterns between males and females in relation to IP interactions and behaviors. For example, Flood (2007) found that among 200 Australian 16- and 17-year-olds, three-quarters of boys and one-tenth of girls had watched an X-rated movie. Three-quarters of the participants had been exposed accidentally to pornographic websites, and 38% of boys and 2% of girls had deliberately searched the Internet for websites with sexual content.

Researchers have recently begun to explore the physical, psychological, sexual, and other problems resulting from intentional versus unintentional exposure to IP (see e.g., Braun-Courville & Rojas, 2009; Mitchell, Finkelhor, & Wolak, 2003; Thornburgh & Lin, 2002). Thornburgh and Lin found that 31% of U.S. children aged between 10 and 17 with a computer at home had seen a pornographic website; 45% of those aged between 14 and 17 had seen such a site compared with only 15% of those aged between 10 and 13. Wolak, Mitchell, and Finkelhor (2007) found that 42% of 500 young Internet users had been exposed to IP in the past year, and 66% of this subgroup reported only unintentional exposure. The great majority of young people with intentional exposure were teenage boys, and rates of intentional exposure increased with age.

Method

Participants and Procedure

Data were collected from one major urban municipality and one rural city in Taiwan. Respondents attended classes at 16 randomly selected schools drawn from a pool of high schools located within the two different Taiwanese school districts. Prior approval in writing was obtained from the principals of these chosen schools as well as from the students' teachers. Given the sensitive nature of the survey, one of our researchers, serving as a field supervisor, approached students in the classes chosen for participation and provided explicit assurance that their participation was completely voluntary. Those students who were willing to participate were further assured of anonymity and confidentiality throughout the study.

We distributed 1,384 questionnaires to students in Grades 10 to 12. After invalid questionnaires were eliminated, 1,166 valid questionnaires remained for analysis, (rate of return = 84. …

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