Style Sex & Relationships

Sunday 16 December 2018

Young people 'engaging in risky sex acts that have been normalised by porn'

Goals: Catherine Byrne. Photo: Arthur Carron
Goals: Catherine Byrne. Photo: Arthur Carron
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Children between 10 and 12 years of age are accessing pornography, which is affecting young people's attitudes to sex.

Some of this was accidental "or they were unwillingly exposed to it", according to a survey carried out to find out what supports youth workers required on the ground.

Youth workers reported that "young people are engaging in riskier sexual behaviours by mimicking the pornography they have seen".

This included "not using contraception and engaging in sexual acts that they are not comfortable with, but which have been normalised by porn".

The respondents highlighted the consequences for young people of accessing this kind of material, including that pornography gives young people "an unrealistic representation of sex and sexual relationships".

They reported that some young men's attitudes and behaviours towards women have been noted as "disrespectful and sometimes aggressive".

Expectations around sexual performance and body image are skewed as young people try to emulate what they see on screen, the respondents pointed out.

The findings were unveiled as the Minister of State for Health Catherine Byrne officially launched a strategic plan on behalf of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). This will focus on areas such as the nationwide provision of training and resources for those working with young people.

A lack of training and resources for the youth sector had been identified in the survey as the largest barriers to addressing the issue of porn with young people, and these issues will be tackled under the new strategy.

The National Youth Health Strategic Plan 2018-2022 will target people working with youngsters in an out of the school setting.

"We have the youngest population in Europe and our young people are full of potential," Ms Byrne said.

"Working in partnership across all sectors, our shared goal must be a healthier Ireland. This begins with our children and young adults."

The NYCI represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people.

Irish Independent

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Editors Choice

Also in this section