Childline Campaign Launched to Help Build Children’s Resilience to Porn

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.
The poll of nearly 700, 12-13 year-olds in the UK 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 been 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.
Gaynor Birnie, ChildLine services manager in the East Midlands, 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.Last week, 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.”
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.
A young boy aged between 12-15 years-old who contacted ChildLine base in the East Midlands said: I’m embarrassed to admit this – I’ve been looking at porn online recently. It started because I was curious, I wanted to know what it was and I wanted to see what sex was like. I’m really worried about anyone finding out because I’m not sure what they would think of me. I do enjoy watching it but I don’t know if that’s normal. I feel confused.
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.