Common Sense Media survey finds average age kids were exposed to pornography was 12 years old

About 41% reported seeing online pornography during the school day

A common sense media survey found the average age that most kids were exposed to porn is 12 years old; 15% first saw porn when they were 10 years old or younger.

Macomb County, Mich. – A Common Sense Media survey found the average age that most kids were exposed to porn is 12 years old; 15% first saw porn when they were 10 years old or younger.

More than half reported seeing adult content accidentally while clicking on links they didn’t realize would lead to porn, and about 41% reported seeing online porn during the school day.

Children, who are native users of technology, don’t have to look far to find pornographic content and don’t have to work hard for it to find them.

“Too much access,” said Brenda. “It’s very simple for them to get online and go to whatever you clicked on and it takes you someplace else.”

The question becomes do we have the information as parents, guardians, and the center of guidance for our children? What do we do with this information?

“The problem is people blame porn,” said Dr. Joe Kort. “It is not the porn, it is the fact that the child is watching something and not getting educated about what is happening.”

Kort is a certified sex therapist in Royal Oak.

“When you’re a young kid, and you don’t know what you’re watching, and nobody is explaining it to you that this couple that you’re watching has had a conversation about what they’re going to do beforehand,” Kort said. “Not every body part that you’re seeing is going to look the same. Nobody is talking to kids about all of that.”

The Common Sense Media study also found that 84% of the pornographic images children view depict acts of violence, rape, and choking someone in pain, and that is dangerous, particularly when children can’t contextualize what they’re seeing while forming their own sexual identities.

“So now the girl thinks this is what boys want, and this is what men are going to want,” Kort said. “Boys are thinking that this is what women are going to want.”

“Pornography is bad, especially for children, because it’s not real,” said Cynthia Reynolds. “It’s depicting something, an act that is not natural and great in an unreal fashion.”

Reynolds specializes in child counseling at First Family Counseling in Bingham Farms.

“It’s dangerous because if children are experiencing pornography or violent situations regarding normal sexual activities, what kind of opinions are they forming regarding that?”

“I don’t know how I would’ve handled that with my kids said, Yolanda. “You know, kids is always like three steps ahead of you.”

“Parents should be looking through their children’s phones,” Kort said. “I’ve always believed in that. It would be better if they could do it with the kids, especially if they are an older teen. Looking through and not shaming, but rather, let’s have a conversation about what you saw.”


About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.