The explosion of porn across the Internet is a phenomenon greatly feared and woefully understudied. A new Pew Research Center report on the online viewing habits of 1,003 Americans is the latest attempt to mine a bit of actual data about the pervasiveness of Internet porn. Pew found that just 12 percent of U.S. adults who use the Internet say that they've leveraged it to watch adult videos. Among online video watchers, 25 percent of men and 8 percent of women admitted to checking out some adult programming.
Because the survey was conducted over the telephone, those low percentages "may reflect a reluctance to report the behavior among some adults," Pew reasons. Nevertheless, the number of Internet users who cop to engaging in the activity has risen markedly in recent years. In 2009, just 7 percent of Internet users said they watched adult videos; in 2007, 6 percent said so; now it's 12 percent. Unsurprisingly, the percentage is rising as the dead-tree Playboy generation declines and the internet porn generation comes of age: Among people who use the internet--about 15 percent of American adults still don't--23 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds watch adult videos online, compared to 15 percent of 30-49-year-olds and 3 percent of internet users age 50-plus.