BACKGROUND: Alongside the learning opportunities created by the Internet, the negative impact it has on sexual behaviour cannot be overlooked. This impact has led to an increase in adolescents with risky sexual behaviours such as unprotected sexual intercourse, early sexual debut etc. This study assessed and compared the patterns of Internet use, patterns of sexual behaviours, attitudes of adolescents towards sexual ads and the relationship between internet use and sexual behaviour.
METHODOLOGY: A comparative cross-sectional design was utilized to determine the influence of Internet on sexual behaviour of adolescents in Ife LGAs, Osun state. A sample of 540 senior secondary school students were selected with a multistage sample technique and an adapted semi-structured self- administered questionnaire. P value of <0.05 was taken as statistically significant.
RESULTS: The result showed that the prevalence of internet use is 95.2% and 91.1% in rural and urban areas respectively. The predominant pattern of sexual behaviour in rural is sex chat (50.6%) while that of urban is sexual intercourse (59.7%). Majority of respondents in both areas had good attitude towards pop up sexual ads. A relationship between Internet use and prevalence of sexual behaviour was established with 53.3% and 63.0% in rural and urban areas respectively.
CONCLUSION: The study found that majority of the respondents had access to the Internet regardless of location (urban or rural LGAs) and association between internet use and pattern of sexual behaviour. Age and gender also played an important role in determining the use of internet and sexual behaviour. Hence, government intervention aimed at improving awareness about the dangers of negative internet use on sexual behaviour should be put in place.