A new poll commissioned by a British think tank indicates nearly half of the U.K.’s teenagers believe “sending sexual or naked photos or videos is part of everyday life for teenagers nowadays.”
The practice, known as “sexting,” was just one of the subjects raised in a poll done for the Institute for Public Policy Research, which calls itself the U.K.’s “leading progressive think tank.”
The survey found some 80 percent of British 18-year-olds say it is too easy for young people to accidentally see pornography online. About seven out of 10 18-year-olds say “accessing pornography was seen as typical” while they were at school, becoming common when they were about 13 to 15 years old.
The polling was conducted by Opinium, which interviewed 500 18-year-olds.
“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,” commented Dalia Ben-Galim, IPPR’s associate director.
“It paints a worrying picture about the way online pornography is shaping the attitudes and behavior of young people,” he said.
The organization is using the data to lobby for more “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.”
The survey found 46 percent say sending nude images or videos is part of everyday life for teens, 72 percent say porn leads to “unrealistic attitudes” and 70 percent say porn “can have a damaging impact on young people’s views of sex or relationships.”
Also, 66 percent of British young women and 49 percent of young men say “it would be easier growing up if pornography was less easy to access for young people.”
Sixty-six percent say “people are too casual about sex and relationships.”
IPPR said the polling “paints a picture of British teenagers uncomfortable with the impact of online pornography on young people’s attitudes to sex and relationships.”
Among the results, 77 percent of young women agree that “pornography has led to pressure on girls or young women to look a certain way.”
Seventy-five percent said “pornography has led to pressure on girls and young women to act a certain way.”
Much lower percentages of teens said porn “helps young people learn about sex,” and majorities believe “sex and relationship advice” should be taught in schools, according to the progressive group’s report.
The U.K.’s Christian Institute reported that in a broader question on the issue, one teenager said teachers are sending the wrong message to students.
The unnamed 18-year-old said: “I don’t think sex should be taught as ‘the norm.’ I think people should be made to feel comfortable and teachers should say, you should wait. The law states 16. Don’t be pressured.’”
The institute pointed out a recent report from a 21-year-old women who spoke out about the destructive power of pornography.
“Bethany Becconsall was addicted to online pornography from the age of eleven and she told the Daily Mail how the easy-to-access porn warped her own relationships with boys,” the report said.