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.
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 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.
Peter Liver, Director of ChildLine 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”
“Recently, the government announced plans for children aged 11 upwards to be taught about rape and sexual consent as part of PSHE in schools. This would include discussion around what they have learnt from watching pornography.”
“Our campaign clearly compliments this proposal. 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.”
One young girl aged between 12-15 years-old who contacted ChildLine, said “I’ve been feeling really insecure about my body since seeing a porn film because I know I'll never be as attractive as the women in them. It upsets me because I think I’m going to end up alone - no one will ever fancy the way I look if I’m compared to them. I wish I’d never watched the film because all it’s done is make me feel rubbish and I didn't even enjoy it.”
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.