Social Bonding & the Adolescent's X-rated Search--Doyle

Social Bonding and the Adolescent's X-rated Search

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In the article, "Social bonds and Internet Pornographic Exposure Among Adolescents," Gustavo Mesch combines previous findings along with his own research data to discover what the characteristcs are of adolescents who view pornographic material on the internet. The topic of pornographic exposure to children is of so much interest because public concern has grown over the ease of access and the "abundance of pornographic content on the Internet" available to minors.

Prior to this article, the most relevant work was S. Livingstone and E. Helsper, Taking risks when communicating on the Internet, Information, Communication and Society 5 (2007).

The research question explored in this article is to ask what, if any, are the contributing factors that make pornography consumers differ from other Internet users, as well as the social characteristics of adolescent frequent pornography consumers? In other words, what causes children to become consumers of porn?

Data for this study was collected between June and October 2004 from the national Israeli Youth Survey, conducted annually by the University of Haifa. Using a representative sample of 1000 households in Israel, only juvenile populations of ages 13-18 were considered. The selected neighborhoods represent all geographic areas of Israel, as well as different sizes of settlements from big cities to small towns and villages. The survey covers social and demographic characteristics of the youth, social attitudes, attitudes to school, and information on Internet access and frequency of use.


Variables measured in this survey include:
1) Individuals reporting frequent search of X-rated material on the Internet vs. individuals using the Internet for other purposes such as communication, information search, and skill learning.

2) Adolescents who report low commitment to parents and family | (more likely to use the Internet to search for X-rated material, and less likely to use this technology for learning skills, seeking information, and communication purposes).

3) Adolescents who report low attachment to school | (more likely to be involved in frequent search for pornographic material and less likely to use the technology for learning skills, information search, and communication).

4) Adolescents in religious institutions vs. adolescents in public institutions. | (Religiosity negatively related to frequent X-rated search).

The data was analyzed with a focus of three major issues: (1) the connection of social involvement and pro-social attitudes to pornography; (2) the extent that Internet use is generalized or specialized, such that individuals using it for pornographic purposes differ from or are similar to those who use it for other purposes; and (3) whether Internet users for pornographic purposes are different from or similar to users who engage in other deviant behaviours such as aggression.

The study found that age was not related to pornography use, indicating that it is not age-developmental behavior and that factors related to social integration are more important. The higher the social bonds, the lower the likelihood of Internet use for pornography consumption.
Adolescents whom are heavy users of the Internet for pornography were more likely to report weaker social integration in terms of religious beliefs, school, society and family.


Thinking about the topic, and its findings, I must consider the same question as the researcher. They have identified characteristics of adolescent consumers of internet pornography, however, what are the steps needed to prevent the consumption?

-APA citation-

Mesch, G.S. (2009). Social bonds and internet pornographic exposure among adolescents . Journal of Adolescence, 32(3), 601.