.

NSPCC: Porn Addiction Concerns

Shocking figures show one in ten 12-13 year olds are worried they are addicted to porn.

The NSPCC’s ChildLine service has launched a campaign to raise awareness and provide advice to young people about the harmful implications of an over exposure to porn. The move follows the discovery that nearly one in ten 12-13 year olds are worried they are addicted to porn. how is it affecting them? add pressure? what support can parents give?

A poll of nearly 700 12-13 year-olds in the UK also reveals that that one in five of those surveyed said they’d seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them and 12 per cent admitted to making or having been part of a sexually explicit video. The figures form part of a UK-wide survey of 2,000 children and young people aged 11-17 which was conducted by One Poll in February 2015. The survey included 100 young people from Wales.

The ChildLine FAPZ campaign (the Fight Against Porn Zombies) will use a series of animations looking at the implications of over exposure to porn on both boys and girls. The animations then link to a range of information and advice, to help young people understand the implications associated with replicating pornographic content in real life situations and to protect them from putting themselves in potentially risky situations. The campaign is designed for young people, by young people, who have been at the heart of the creative development throughout.

A 17 year old girl from Swansea said: "I feel that porn could become a real danger to young people as they would feel that they're possibly not good enough for the real world and they could feel that how things are perceived in porn is how it should be in the reality. This campaign could really change young people's views and make them understand what it is that they are truly viewing. It will impact positively as it gives them a voice and a chance to ask questions and receive information without having to feel embarrassed about any situation they have found themselves in.

"At young ages, the last thing you want is to feel pressurised into performing sexually when you may not be ready, and when porn gives such a false expectation of sex it could really scare and make people very uncomfortable. This campaign helps emphasise that there are people to speak to about any issues and insecurities you may have. Young people should never have to compare themselves to the misinterpretation that is pornography."

Des Mannion, NSPCC national head of service for Wales, said: “Children of all ages today have easy access to a wide range of pornography and if we as a society shy away from talking about this issue, then we are failing the thousands of young people it is affecting.

“We know from the young people who contact ChildLine that viewing porn is a part of every-day life, and our poll shows that one in five 12-13 year-olds think that watching porn is normal behaviour. However, even more worryingly, they also tell ChildLine that watching porn is making them feel depressed, giving them body image issues, making them feel pressured to engage in sexual acts they’re not ready for and some even feel they are addicted to porn.

The Welsh Government recently passed the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Bill which includes a series of new measures to ensure children and young people receive education about healthy and respectful relationships. A recent independent review of the curriculum also proposes six new Areas of Learning and Experience as the basis of education in Wales- one of which, the NSPCC believes, should be health and well-being. Both developments provide new opportunities to ensure pupils in Wales are taught about issues like sexual consent, including discussions around what they have learnt from watching pornography.

Mr Mannion continued: “Our campaign clearly complements these recent announcements in Wales. Across society, we need to remove the embarrassment and shame that exists around talking about porn – which is why we are launching this activity and helping young people to make more informed choices.”

One boy who spoke with a counsellor at a ChildLine base in Wales said: “I'm always watching porn and some of it is quite aggressive. I didn't think it was affecting me at first but I've started to view girls a bit differently recently and it's making me worried. I would like to get married in the future but I'm scared it might never happen if I carry on thinking about girls the way I do.”*

Dame Esther Rantzen, the Founder of ChildLine said: “It is shocking that children as young as 11 are contacting ChildLine with concerns about porn. Young people are turning to the internet to learn about sex and relationships. We know they are frequently stumbling across porn, often unintentionally, and they are telling us very clearly that this is having a damaging and upsetting effect on them. Girls in particular have said they feel like they have to look and behave like porn stars to be liked by boys.

“We absolutely have to talk to young people about sex, love, respect and consent as soon as we feel they are ready, to ensure that they gain a proper perspective between real life relationships and the fantasy world of porn.

“At ChildLine, we always strive to understand the emerging issues children are facing which is why we have launched this new campaign. We consulted with young people throughout the creative development, enabling us to identify language that will engage them and create real impact.

“I would encourage any young person who has a question or concern to visit our new campaign at www.childline.org.uk/fapz or to contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or online www.childline.org.uk – our counsellors are here 24/7 to offer free, confidential support and advice.”

In 2013/14 a report by the charity ChildWISE revealed the website Pornhub was named in the top five favourite sites by boys aged 11-16. Young people post approximately 18,000 messages regarding exposure to porn on the ChildLine discussion forums every month.

If you are concerned about a child then please encourage them to visit ChildLine’s F.A.P.Z. campaign at www.childline.org.uk/fapz or talk to ChildLine anonymously on 0800 1111 or online www.childline.org.uk. If you’re an adult worried about a child in relation to issues around porn you can visit the NSPCC website for advice and support.

More from Local

Cover art for Local Boy In The Photograph

On Air

Jamie Pritchard playing Stereophonics - Local Boy In The Photograph

Try Something Festive