Let’s see if this trips your BS sensor: according to a new study, executed by McAfee, 32% of teenaged folk in the United States have watched pornography online. You’re laughing, right? I thought so.  The study has an even better number to report, however. Ready? Here goes: only 12% of parents think that their little teenaged angel has been watching porn.

That’s probably roughly the percentage of parents who have recently caught their kids watching the content. Anyway, as you can probably guess, we are likely dealing with a bit of social desirability bias, or perhaps response bias, or maybe just good old-fashioned lying. At least that’s my first thought.

Just to make my point, take these two little anecdotes, as reported in Live Science:

A 2008 study of 813 American university students found that 87 percent of men and 31 percent of women reported using pornography. [...] And in 2009, University of Montreal researcher Simon Louis Lajeunesse made headlines when he announced that he had attempted a study on the impact of pornography on young men’s sexuality, but he couldn’t find a control group. In other words, good luck finding a man in his twenties who hasn’t seen porn.

Now, these results are for slightly older folks than teens, but as modern youths are only more connected and digitally savvy than generations before them, I doubt that usage levels are on the decline; quite the contrary, actually. And since the one researcher couldn’t find a single male over the age of 20 that hadn’t seen porn, I suspect that the actual statistic is quite close to 100% for those slightly lower in age. Add in the female porn-watching masses, and the 32% figure reported today is a bit laughable.

But the 12% figure for the parents is even funnier. If I had to guess, and this is a real guess-from-gut sort of number, but I would suspect that 75% of teens have seen porn. The percenage is likely lower for those who are 13, and higher for those about to break free from their teenage years (note: the study that we are discussing polled only teens between the ages of 13 and 17). That figure implies that kids are dirty liars about their more sordid moments, and that parents are either clueless, or simply pulling an ostrich.

Whatever the case, porn is popular. But you already know that. Oh, and if you really don’t want to know about your kid’s tastes, don’t go looking. The study also checked how many teens cleared their browser history, and it was only 53%.

Top Image Credit: Andy Rennie