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Children, risk and safety on the internetResearch and policy challenges in comparative perspective$
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Sonia Livingstone and Leslie Haddon

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428837

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428837.001.0001

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(p.165) Thirteen Pornography
Children, risk and safety on the internet

Antonis Rovolis

Liza Tsaliki

Policy Press

This chapter aims to address the social anxiety around children and teenagers' encounters with online porn; it therefore focuses on research on children's experience of online sexual images. Starting from the premise that children's experience of online pornographic material is a socially constructed risk, the factors that may determine the probability of exposure to online sexual images and which children are more likely to be harmed by such an experience are explored. Three hypotheses are then formulated, a usage hypothesis, a risk migration hypothesis and a vulnerability hypothesis. The findings show that from this chapter's sample of 19,136 children who use the internet, only a minority (about 6,000) experience online sexual images. These findings confirm empirically what cultural studies-oriented approaches have been arguing for some time – that social, policy and academic concerns regarding the impact of pornographic content on young people are seriously overstated.

Keywords:   Children, Teenagers, Online sexual images, Risk of harm, Vulnerability

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