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Bothersome exposure to online sexual content among adolescent girls

Journal article
Authors Anna Sevcikova
Laura Simon
Kristian Daneback
Tomas Kvapilik
Published in Youth & society
Volume 47
Issue 4
Pages 486-501
ISSN 0044-118X
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Department of Social Work
Pages 486-501
Language en
Keywords adolescence, youth, Internet, pornography, unwanted exposure, sexual solicitation
Subject categories Social Work


Prior research suggests that adolescent girls may react more negatively to online sexual content than boys. This study explored the qualitative experiences of adolescent girls who encountered bothersome or disturbing sexual content online. Fourteen girls (aged 15-17 years) were interviewed online about the context in which they saw bothersome sexual material and the reasons for their negative reactions. Results showed that participants felt bothered while using the Internet at home and in public, while engaging in online exploration, information seeking, or chatting with new acquaintances. Participants were also bothered when the sexual content portrayed sex of an extreme nature, seemed inappropriate for their age, broke norms for establishing romantic relationships, or threatened their home life. The impact of these experiences is discussed, especially in light of the participants' statements that they did not tell their parents or guardians about their experiences with bothersome online content.

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