A BBC article by Patrick Howse has revealed how ten percent of UK children between 12 and 13 years old have described themselves as being addicted to pornography.
A NSPCC ( National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ) Childline survey has discovered that viewing porn is considered an acceptable part of everyday life, for the children who contact them. One in five of nearly 700 youngsters surveyed said they had seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them, while the charity also says that 12% of those surveyed said they had taken part in, or had made, a sexually explicit video.
According to an article on their website, the NSPCC decided to undertake this survey due to concern over the large number of calls and messages that their Childline service was receiving regularly from children who felt that their access to pornography was negatively affecting them or their friends. The survey and its findings are intended to raise awareness about the potential harmful effects of over exposure to pornography, particularly at such a young age.
One anonymous participant, a boy between 12 and 15, chose to reveal that "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."
Peter Liver, director of ChildLine, has acknowledged that it is important to talk openly about the issue of pornography addiction. "Children of all ages today have easy access to a wide range of pornography," he said. "If we as a society shy away from talking about this issue, 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 everyday life, and our poll shows that one in five 12 to 13-year-olds thinks that watching porn is normal behaviour. They tell ChildLine that watching porn is making them feel depressed, giving them body image issues, and making them feel pressured to engage in sexual acts they're not ready for."
Details of the survey's methodology and key findings can be found on the NSPCC website.