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European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Seminar Dangers of the Internet for Children and Juveniles Wiesbaden, 1st of June 2007 PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Institute for Sex Research and Forensic Psychiatry (Direktor: Prof. Dr. W. Berner). European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Seminar Dangers of the Internet for Children and Juveniles Wiesbaden, 1st of June 2007 Effects of Internet Pornography and Cybersex Dr. med. habil. Andreas Hill.

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European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Seminar Dangers of the Internet for Children and Juveniles Wiesbaden, 1st of June 2007

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Institute for Sex Researchand Forensic Psychiatry (Direktor: Prof. Dr. W. Berner)

  • European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Seminar

  • Dangers of the Internet for Children and Juveniles

  • Wiesbaden, 1st of June 2007

  • Effects of Internet Pornography and Cybersex

  • Dr. med. habil. Andreas Hill

Internet, sex and pornography

  • Google-search (28.07.2006):

    • “Sex”: 719.000.000 Links

    • “Pornography”: 35.400.000 Links

  • In 2001 33% of German Internet-Users frequently consumed cybersex (Döring 2004)

  • Use of pornography is also widespread among juveniles:

    • 42% of youth (10-17 yrs)(USA, Wolak et al. 2007)

    • 96% of male / 89% of female juveniles (14-18 yrs)(Iceland, Nordik Institute for Women Studies and Gender Research, 2007)

Unwanted exposure to Internet-pornography in youth

(n=1500, Mitchell et al. 2007)


OR 1.3

OR 2.2

OR 4.2

Any unwanted exposure to pornography

Distressing unwanted exposure to pornography

Risk and protective factors for unwanted pornography exposure

Risk factors for (associations with) unwanted pornography exposure:

  • Using file-sharing programs (OR 1.9)

  • Being withdrawn and depressed (OR 2.3)

  • Interpersonal victimization by peers (OR 1.4)

    Protective factors:

  • Using filter/blocking software (OR 0.6)

  • Attending a law enforcement internet safety presentation (OR 0.7)

    (n=1500, Wolak et al. 2007)

Intentional pornography seeking

Intentional pornography seeking was related to:

  • Poor emotional bonds with caregiver (online-pornography seekers: OR 2.0)

  • Delinquent behaviour (online OR 4.2, offline OR 3.9)

  • Problematic substance use (online OR 2.6, offline OR 2.1)

    Online pornography seekers (compared to offline seekers) showed more symptoms of depression (10.7% vs. 3.8%, p<.05)!

    (n=1500, Ybarra & Mitchel 2005)

Experiences of online sexual solicitation in youth

No reduction of sexual solicitation

in youth from minority origin and

low income households!

(n=1500, Mitchell et al. 2007)


OR .53

OR .47

OR .44

Any sexual


Distressing sexual solicitation

Aggressive sexual solicitation

National Juvenile OnlineVictimization Study, USA

  • 2580 Internet-related sexual (hands-on) offences against minors (=4% of all offences) per year (2000/01)

  • Victims: 75% 13-15 yrs old girls who met the adult offenders (76% >25 yrs) in chat-rooms

  • Offenders mostly did not lie about their age and sexual interests

  • Most victims met their offenders several times offline, 50% were ‚in love‘ with the offenders

  • In 5% use of force / violence

  • 91% of the offenders were sentenced.

    (Wolak et al. 2004, Mitchell et al. 2005, Walsh & Wolak 2005)

Mr. A and Mr. B

Two case histories (Hill et al. 2007)

Characteristics of Internet pornography and cybersex (Hill et al. 2007)

  • Easy access: at home, every time, cheap, anonymous

  • Variability of the pornographic material: photos, films, texts, message-systems, chats (with two or more persons), audio-visual communication (microphone, webcam)

  • Unlimited market: continuously new material

  • Blurring the borders between consumer, producer and supplier

  • More deviant, violentpornography (magazines < videos < internet)

  • World wide spectators and auditorium

Characteristics of Internet pornography and cybersex (Hill et al. 2007)

  • Interactive communication with reciprocal influence on fantasies and ‘real’ behaviour - immediate or delayed

  • Space to experiment between fantasy und „real life“-behaviour

  • Virtual identities

  • Enables concrete „Selbstvertauschungsagieren“

  • Facilitates addictive consumption, habituation, desensitization

  • Easy, unlimitednetworking(esp. for minorities), anonymous contacts between ‘perpetrator’ and ‘victim’ and between different ‘perpetrators’

  • Low risk of detection and prosecution of illegal activities

Biology:genes, brain dysfunctions, hormones, neurotransmitters, „constitution“

Distal causes: early socialization, attachment, trauma, identifications/model learning (pornogr.?)



Proximal causes:crises at work or partnership, stimulating disinhibiting substances (e.g. alcohol/drugs/pornogr.)

Types of pornography according to the level of violence

  • Soft-core pornography / nudity (Playboy etc.)

  • Hard-core pornography (non-violent sexual acts)

  • Violent pornography (bondage, spanking; obviously with consent)

  • Rape-pornography (use of violence / force obviously without consent)

    (Boeringer 1994)

Meta-analysis of experimental studies

  • Nudity (soft-core pornography)reduces aggression (effect size r= -.14).

  • Hard-core pornography (r=.17) and violent pornography (r=.22) increase aggression.

  • Increase of aggression onlyif individuals had been angered before the exposure to pornography!

    (Allen et al. 1995, 33 studies, n=2,040)

Effects of pornography

Meta-analysis about 46 experimental studies

total n=12.323 (Oddone-Paolucci et al. 2000)

Effect-sizes (r) for pornography on various factors related to sexual violence:

  • Deviant sexuality.31

  • Sexual violence.22

  • Negative attitudes about

    intimate relationships.20

  • Rape myths.31

Risk level, pornography and sexual aggression

In the highest-risk-group(7% of the sample) those with the most extensive consumption of pornography (12%) exhibit 4 x as much sexual aggression than those with low consumption of pornography.

(n=1713 college students,

Malamuth et al. 2000)

Effects of pornography in sexual offenders

  • No difference between sexual offenders and controls in regard to frequency and age at the first consumption of pornography

  • But: Sexual offenders reported:

    • more often sexual activity (masturbation, consensual or forced sex) after pornography use (r=.23)

    • more sexual arousal (.15), esp. after violent pornography (.39)

    • less sexual arousal after consensual (non-violent) pornography (-.26)

      (Allen et al. 2000, 13 studies, n=2543)

Use of Internet pornography and cybersex by sexual offenders

  • To get information

  • To observe and contact victims

  • To develop fantasies and get aroused

  • To overcome own inhibitions

  • To seduce victims and make them sexually aroused

  • To produce pornographic material with their victims

  • To exchange this material with and sell it to others

  • To contact other offenders

Child-pornography andhands-on sexual offences

Child-pornography offenders (n=201):

  • 24% with previous hands-on sexual offences

  • 15% with previous child pornography offences

    Follow-up after  2,5 Jahren (time at risk)

    New hands-on sexual offences:

  • 1.3% among those with child pornography offences only


  • 9.2% among those with previous hands-on sexual offences (p<.05)

    (Seto & Eke 2005)

Frequency of child pornography cases

cases per

100.000 inhabitants

Germany, Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2006

Abuse image level

(Internet Watch Foundation, UK 2006)













4 %



Criminal statistics: Sexual child abuse since 1955

Germany, Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2006

cases per

100.000 inhabitants

Suspected offenders of sexual child abuse, age-structure

Germany, Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2006

Offenders per

100.000 inhabitants

Is there a causal link between increase of internet pornography / cybersex (esp. deviant material) and the increase of sexual violence committed by juveniles and young adults?

Recommendations for prevention(Longo et al. 2002, Hill et al. 2007)

  • Sexual education starting before adolescence and puberty

  • Active support of youth in exploring the Internet

  • Teaching youth not to disclose their identiy (e-mail address, telephone-no. etc.)

  • Teaching youth not to respond to hostile, soliciting, inadequate, or unwanted contacts

  • No Internet access in the youth private rooms

  • Limiting time youth spend in the Internet

  • Installation of filtering/blocking/tracking software

  • Caregivers should know online friends of their children

  • Keeping children out of chat-rooms or control their communication

  • Counselling and therapy for those with problematic internet pornography behaviour

Topics for further research

  • Epidemiology and effects of internet pornography and sexual communication in youth and adults (including prospective, longitudinal studies)

  • Diagnostic and criminal risk factors of people consuming illegal pornography on the internet (esp. child pornography)

  • How to enhance internet-media-skills and sexual education about the benefits as well as risks of the internet, esp. for children and juveniles at risk

  • Interventions (counselling, therapy etc.) for youth and adults with problematic / addictive or illegal internet pornography use and cybersex

Conclusions 1

  • Probably reciprocal influence: men with high risk for sexual violence show more interest for violent pornography and are influenced more strongly by such material.

  • Soft-Core-pornography and non-violent hard-core pornography is generally harmless, but might pose a risk for high-risk-individuals.

  • Violent und rape-pornography increase aggression, depending on situational factors (e.g. being angered).

  • (Internet-)pornography is only one of many factors leading to sexual violence: vulnerability + specific stimulus/media + situational stressor (comparable to alcohol and drugs).

Conclusions 2

  • There are specific risks of internet-pornography and cybersex.

  • (Internet-)pornography use is widespread among children and juveniles. These might be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects and victimization, but esp. youth with other risk factors for sexual violence might become victimizers themselves.

  • Further research is urgently needed!

Thank you for your attention!

e-mail: [email protected]

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