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British Kids Exposed to Internet Porn from an Early Age

Internet pornography has a negative impact on young people and is typically accessible from around the age of 13, according to a new study by the Institute for Public Policy Research which raises concerns over online safety.

The thinktank interviewed 500 British teenagers for the research, yet to be formally released, and found 80% of 18-year-olds feel it’s too easy to access explicit images online.

The majority said that viewing porn becomes typical at around 13-14 years-old although 10% said it’s common in kids as young as 11, according to The Guardian.

What’s more, almost half of respondents (46%) said that sending explicit photos to each other online had become “part of everyday life for teenagers nowadays”.

The study mainly focuses on the potentially damaging impact watching porn from an early age can have on young people’s views about sex and how they are viewed by others.

However, there are implications also for online security and cyber bullying. Pornographic content is frequently used by cybercriminals to infect users with malware, for example.

In May, researchers discovered new Android ransomware which automatically pops-up when victims visit certain porn sites.

It will then lock the smartphone screen and flash up a bogus police message claiming that the user has broken child porn and copyright laws and requesting payment of a $300 fine.

Even legitimate porn sites are vulnerable to attack and can be compromised to serve up malware, according to a Malwarebytes report back in March.

This is despite Blue Coat research from the same month that claimed watering hole-style attacks on such sites were on the wane in the mobile sphere.

Kaspersky Lab senior security researcher, David Emm, argued that while technology can be used by parents to filter unsuitable content from home networks, “it’s essential that the backdrop to this is an ongoing dialogue between parents and children about online safety and responsibility in its widest sense.” 

“Protecting children from cyberbullies is especially challenging with smartphones as they can be targeted in so many ways, especially out of view of their parents,” he added.

“Deal with cyberbullying as you would in real life by encouraging children to be open and talk to a trusted adult if they experience any threatening or inappropriate messages. Numbers and contacts on apps can both be blocked if they are making children uncomfortable.”  

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