What Are The Costs of Internet Pornography?
Internet pornography was the first big internet safety topic to make news, and it has remained largely out of favor among the popular press ever since. But that doesn’t mean the issues and costs have vanished, or that “it’s just an issue among right-wing prudes.” In fact, there's significant research emanating from academic circles which suggests that online pornography is not without significant social and economic costs.
The Costs of Pornography in Society
The societal costs of pornography are staggering. The financial cost to business productivity in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16.9 Billion annually; but the human toll, particularly among our youth and in our families, is far greater.
According to Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D, psychologist and former Deputy Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary, “two recent reports, one by the American Psychological Association on hyper-sexualized girls, and the other by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on the pornographic content of phone texting among teenagers, make clear that the digital revolution is being used by younger and younger children to dismantle the barriers that channel sexuality into family life. ii
Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce.”
The Costs of Pornography in the Workplace
In February 2010, the number of people using a work computer to visit sexually oriented websites was as high as 28%, according to research conducted by The Nielsen Company. The average visit to a pornography site from a work computer was about 13 minutes. During the month, the average worker was estimated to spend one hour and 38 minutes on such sites.
If we leverage data extracted on March 30, 2012 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which calculates average hourly earnings at $23.23, and we multiply by one hour and 38 minutes, we’d see a loss of roughly $38/month per employee due to pornography usage in the workplace. Multiply that by 12 months and a yearly loss of $456 coming from every employee that views pornography can be estimated.
The number of U.S. employees reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 30th, 2012 was 132 million. If we divide this by the 28% of employees who use a work computer to visit pornographic sites, up to 37 million employees view pornography in the workplace. (Note: There are many ways to pare down this number, for example by excluding some labor categories, but for the sake of the exercise we’re keeping it simple).
Thus, if 37 million employees are viewing the average amount of pornography cited by the Nielsen Company, the annual productivity loss to companies is a staggering $16.9 Billion dollars.
Internet Pornography Statistics in the United States
Here are some of the most credible statistics available today on internet pornography.
How Much Porn is Accessible Online?
The amount of pornographic material available on the web is staggering. As introductory video economics, search engines, and other online data repositories tell us, the market for such material is just as large.
28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet.
$3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet.
372 people are typing the word "adult" into a search engine.
37 pornographic videos are created in the United States.
2.5 billion emails containing porn are sent or received.
68 million search queries related to pornography- 25% of total searches- are generated.
116,000 queries related to child pornography are received.
How Online Pornography Affects Americans
About 200,000 Americans are classified as “porn addicts.”
40 million American people regularly visit porn sites.
35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography.
34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop up ads, misdirected links or emails.
One-third of porn viewers are women.
By focusing on the data behind the creation and consumption of pornographic content, the dangers facing people can be easily overlooked. The sheer magnitude of available online pornography is merely one aspect of a larger issue that plagues society.
How Internet Pornography Usage Hurts Teens
One area of study considered important among development experts is the effect of pornography on teens and young adults.
It increases the odds of teenage pregnancy. Teenagers with frequent exposure to sexual content on TV have a substantially greater likelihood of teenage pregnancy, and the likelihood of teen pregnancy was twice as high doubles when the quantity of sexual content exposure within the viewing episodes was high.viii
It hinders sexual development. Pornography viewing by teens disorients them during the developmental phase when they have to learn how to handle their sexuality and when they are most vulnerable to uncertainty about their sexual beliefs and moral values.ix Blocking internet-connected devices from accessing adult material is a good start in keeping pornography out of reach for teens.
It raises the risk of depression. A significant relationship also exists among teens between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness, including major depression.x
It creates distorted expectations which hinder healthy sexual development. Adolescents exposed to high levels of pornography have lower levels of sexual self-esteem.xi Keeping the conversation going with your child about the effects of pornography is essential to heading off issues like depression and low self-esteem.
Family/Marital Pornography Stats
The negative effects of pornography do not end after development. They can be just as harmful to families and marriages.
According to National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, 2010, 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.xii
Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.xiii
40 percent of people identified as “sex addicts” lose their spouses, 58 percent suffer considerable financial losses, and about 33% lose their jobs.xiv
68% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new paramour over the internet while 56% involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.xv
The internet and the interconnectedness it offers society are beneficial in so many ways. Unfortunately, as a cybersecurity company, we know all too well about the drawbacks associated with the internet. We're here to help by facilitating conversation on online safety with the resources below, and by providing you with the home internet security tools to ensure malicious actors aren't able to seek you out online.
What Are The Costs of Internet Pornography?