Pornography online

The most common things you might find on the internet when looking for sexual health info is pornography ('porn' for short) - sexual pictures, writing, photos or films. It can be annoying, especially if you're looking for something else - 57% of UK teens report coming across pornography online while they looked for other things. That's not really surprising, as there're over 1.3 million porn sites on the web, generating billions of dollars. Some people find looking at these things is sexually exciting - but there're some important things you need to know about porn.

  • There's loads of porn on the internet and it can be very hard to avoid. But if you don't like it, you don't have to look at it. There are ways you can stop your computer from showing porn sites.
  • Pornography isn't always just pictures or films. It can also include cartoons or writing. Under this definition, it could also include chatroom talk, if it gets too strong.
  • There are lots of different types of pornography on the internet, and it ranges from quite mild stuff to things that are illegal.
  • In some parts of the world, there are age limits on looking at porn - make sure you're over the legal age. The laws about what is illegal are different in different countries - don't assume that it's legal just because you can look at it. Pornography involving children or animals is illegal in most countries. In many countries, if you are under the age of consent, it may be illegal for you to view all pornography - whatever type, pictures, films or written.
  • In some parts of the world, some types of pornography are illegal, and you can get in trouble if it's found on your computer. People who have been found to have large quantities of illegal pornography on their computers have been sent to prison.
  • Lots of people find it offensive - so don't show it to other people or leave it where other people can find it.
  • Some people like to use pornography for masturbation - masturbation isn't wrong, but pornography can be, and you might not be allowed to look at certain things because of laws in your area.
  • Remember - porn only shows sexual images, and there's much more to sex than this. Sex is also about feelings and relationships, and pornography doesn't show that. It also doesn't show important parts of sex - like how to protect against pregnancy or STDs.
  • Pornography sites can be really difficult to get away from - they can add themselves to your favourites, for example, or to your desktop. Sometimes they can get your modem to dial international numbers which cost you a fortune. If you look at these sites, you need a really good firewall, spy- and mal-ware blockers, and a good Trojan- and virus-killer.
  • If someone's showing or sending you porn, and you don't feel comfortable, ask them to stop. If they don't, then you should think about asking a teacher or parent for advice - this can be a type of abuse.