12-Year-Olds 'Addicted To Porn'

31 March 2015, 05:00

It's claimed one in ten 12-13 year olds are worried they are addicted to pornography.

The NSPCC's ChildLine service has launched a campaign to raise awareness and provide advice to young people about what it calls "the harmful implications of an over exposure to porn".

The poll of nearly 700 12-13 year-olds in the UK, including 118 young people in Scotland, also reveals that around 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 being part of a sexually explicit video.

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.

Elaine Chalmers, ChildLine Scotland area manager, said: "Our young people can access a wide range of online porn, far more easily today, than they could even a couple of years ago. And as porn becomes more normalised, young people's understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like becomes increasingly skewed.

"Contacts to ChildLine about porn have doubled in the last year. Discussion threads on our website message boards with porn in the title are viewed over 18,000 times per month. Young people who talk to us about porn tell us that it can make them feel depressed, insecure about their bodies and that it impacts on their self-esteem. Young people also tell us that porn is teaching boys that girls are for sexual gratification and girls that they must look and perform like 'porn stars' to be liked and valued by boys.

"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."
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.

A young boy aged between 12-15 years-old who contacted ChildLine Scotland said: "I've been comparing myself to the men in porn films which has started to make me feel really insecure. I feel weedy in comparison to them, so I'm embarrassed about my body. Some of the things they do in the videos makes me a little uncomfortable but I can't help watching."

Laura Tomson is co-director at Zero Tolerance, a Scottish charity working to tackle the causes of men's violence against women supports the ChildLine FAPZ campaign. She said: "These findings confirm what we know from our work with young people in Scotland - many are exposed to pornography from a young age and feel pressured to conform to its sexist, harmful representations of sex.

"Young people need support to understand the difference between pornography and healthy sex and relationships, and we all need to challenge the normalisation of pornography in our culture."

If you are concerned about a child then please encourage them to visit ChildLine's FAPZ. 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.

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