ChildLine launch campaign to give young people advice about pornography
The NSPCC’s ChildLine service has launched the ChildLine FAPZ Campaign to raise awareness and provide advice to young people about the potentially harmful implications of over exposure to pornography. The move follows the discovery that around one in five 12 – 13 year olds said they’d seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them.
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”
The ChildLine FAPZ campaign (the Fight Against Porn Zombies) use a series of animations looking at the implications of over exposure to pornography 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.
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 Childnet we encourage all parents and carers to have an ongoing dialogue with their children about sexualised content online, and we recently launched a guide to help parents and carers have age appropriate conversations about pornography with their children.
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
“It can be difficult for parents to face the fact that their child might come across pornography, but the reality is that pornography is relatively easy to find online, and children are being exposed at a younger and younger age. Parental control tools can help limit the chances of accidental exposure, but the most important filter we can give young people is the one in their head which helps them to critically evaluate the things they come across so they can develop healthy attitudes and relationships.”
Key advice for parents and carers about online pornography:
- Young people encounter sexual images both online and offline. This can influence how they think about sex, relationships and their own body image – and it can make children feel confused, embarrassed, disgusted or worried.
- It’s important that we talk to children about the sexualised content they see, including online pornography. For the youngest children, it’s about making sure they know they can turn to parents and carers with anything that worries them online; and that they know how to keep themselves safe by understanding appropriate and inappropriate behaviours. With older children, parents and carers play a key role in helping them to critically evaluate the things they come across – both online and offline. To help them interpret and critique this information and to help them develop healthy and positive attitudes towards sex, relationships and their own body.
- Parental control tools and filters can help to reduce the chances of stumbling across pornography online, but it’s important that we give young people the most important filter – inside their head – to help them understand the world they live in.
For more advice about how to have age appropriate conversations with your children see the Pornography Hot Topic from Childnet.
If you are concerned about a child then you can also 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 pornography you can visit the NSPCC website for advice and support.