There hasn’t been much research into how seeing sex can affect children and teens. However, there’s a strong suspicion that this comes with some risks. Based on that, the Kijkwijzer system considers the following potentially harmful effects:
They don’t understand
Very young children can misinterpret depictions of sex. Because they have no experience with sex, they may not understand what they are watching and they can misinterpret a sex scene as something violent, or scary.
It makes them uncomfortable
Children can also feel uncomfortable watching sex scenes. Research shows that children aged between 8 and 12 do not feel comfortable watching sex or intimate behaviour between adults. They’re not ready for this.
Unrealistic depiction of sex
Teens are in the middle of their sexual development and are on the lookout for information about sex. They run the risk of getting an unrealistic idea about sex through the media they watch. Everyone looks fantastic, it’s all over within a few minutes and women will usually give in if they’re pushed a little. Teenagers can get the idea that this is all ‘normal’.
Kijkwijzer occasionally receives complaints about nudity or ‘suggestive’ outfits. These kinds of images don’t lead to a Kijkwijzer warning for seks, unless the images are meant to arouse. There’s no evidence that seeing naked bodies in a non-sexual context is harmful to children.