Uppsala University public health researcher Magdalena Mattebo said she herself was shocked at how much and how often pornographic material was accessed by the 16-year-old boys.
“I didn’t think it would be so many of them. My (doctoral) supervisor has done this type of research in the past but then the big consumers [of porn] were looking once a week,” Mattebo told the TT news agency.
The study, based on interviews with 477 boys who were in their first year of high school in Uppsala, eastern Sweden, found that one third of the teens accessed adult content more often than they wanted.
One in ten, meanwhile, reported that they looked at pornographic material every day. The researchers noted that the teen boys who accessed a lot of porn were more likely to report struggling with their weight, missing school, using tobacco products, and finding it difficult to make and keep friends in real life.
Mattebo noted, however, that in real terms the number of boys who look at porn has not increased, but rather the frequency of visits to adult sites has increased.
“Previous generations had to go to the news agent and buy a magazine to get access to pornography, but nowadays it is just a click away,” Mattebo said, adding that she was keen to keep surveying the study group as they grew older, as no previous generation had had such unbridled access to illicit imagery.
“It will be very interesting to see what happens with this group when they group up, to see if their behaviour stays the same,” she said.
About 400 16-year-old girls also partook in the study. Some 54 percent said they had watched porn at some point, and 30 percent said they had watched more than once, but Mattebo underlined that the girls’ consumption was much less intense than the boys’.