Every day children and young people are accessing mainstream pornography on the internet, including the most hardcore, violent and abusive images. Evidence clearly shows pornography has a detrimental impact on children and young people including premature sexualisation, negative body image and unhealthy notions about relationships. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Despite parental concerns and the use of computer filters in the home, the rapid rate at which communications technology is developing, including convergence of the internet on televisions/ games consoles and mobile phone technology, makes it increasingly difficult for parents/ carers to supervise their children's use effectively. Massive profit-driven competition is harming the vulnerable.
To better protect children and young people we are calling on Internet service providers to block pornography by introducing filters at Internet service provider level. This will still give adults the choice to access pornography whilst giving children the freedom to surf the internet safely.
Internet becoming integral part of family life in the UK
- Approximately 73% of British households now have access to the Internet. (ONS - Internet Access, August 2010)
- 99% of 12-15 year olds, 93% of 8-11 year olds, and 75% of 5-7 year olds use the Internet regularly ( Ofcom, March 2010). In fact, 74% 5-16 yr olds have own laptop or PC; almost 58% of 5-16 yr olds can now access the internet in their own room (ChildWise Monitor 2012).
- Internet controls or filtering software is in place in only 39% of households where a child aged 5-15 uses the internet at home (Ofcom ‘Children and parents: media use and attitudes report’ – October 2011).
Children and young people accessing pornography at an alarming rate
- The single largest group of internet pornography consumers is children aged 12-17 (Psychologies Magazine).
- 1 in 3 10 year olds have seen pornography online (Psychologies Magazine 2010)
- 81% aged 14-16 regularly access explicit photographs and footage on their home computers. (Psychologies Magazine 2010)
Harmful impact of pornography on children and young people
Dr Linda Papadopolous, "The evidence gathered in the review suggests a clear link between consumption of sexualized images, a tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviour as the norm." (Home Office report into the sexualisation of children 2010).
John Carr, Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety, "In recent years there has been a very dramatic increase in child pornography images made by children and then distributed online or via phones.We have an exhibitionist, celebrity-dominated culture and it's seen as normal and cool to be a porn star." (Stella magazine)
Author Mark Kastlemann said, "Giving porn to a teenage boy is like giving crack to a baby. Addiction is almost guaranteed. No wonder boys aged 12-17 are the porn industry's core target." (came in a presentation given by Richard Bach to an Anglican Mainstream Conference last year)
"Overall, the body of research on pornography reveals.It functions as a teacher, permission-giver, and a trigger of.negative behaviours and attitudes. The damage is seen in men, women and children, and to both married and single adults.pathological behaviours, illegal behaviours and some behaviours that are both illegal and pathological." Mary Anne Layden, Director of Sexual Trauma and Psychological Program, University of Pennsylvania 2010
'Studies cite alarming links between early exposure to pornography and juvenile sex offenders; one study of 30 young sex offenders showed that 29 had been watching X-rated porn from age of 7' (Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine, 27 November 2011
Facts about the pornography industry and Internet service providers
- The pornography industry was worth $96bn (£61bn) in 2006 (reference - ‘Pornland’). In the UK alone, it is estimated to be worth £1bn (Adult Industry Trade Association - 2005)
- One of the aims of the porn trade summit, XBIZ EU (2), held in London in September 2011 was ‘to monetize the expanding audience of mobile users.’
- The top six UK Internet Service Providers(all UK based) account for over 90% of market share. Yet : only one of them, TalkTalk is willing to block pornographic content at network level, although the default setting is still on, despite the technology being avaialble to do so.
The problem with mobile phones
- 61% of children aged 7 -16 have a mobile phone that can access the internet, rising to 77% among 11-16s (ChildWise Monitor 2012).
- Nearly 9 out of 10 children had no security settings on their phones and only 46% of parents were aware that they were even necessary (YouGov Carphone Warehouse Jan 12 ).
- Sexting - 40% of 11 - 14 yr olds have used their mobile phones or computer to send pictures of themselves or receive naked or topless images of friends (SW Grid for Learning Mar 11)
Pornography has detrimental impact on relationships and the family
- Counsellors working for Relate report that use of internet porn is a cause of tension and conflict for as many as 40% of their clients who come to them seeking help with sexual problems. Referrals to the Portman Clinic for the problematic use of pornography have increased from 9% in 2001-2 to 16% in 2007-8.
- General public agree pornography is harmful to society
- A YouGov poll in February 2011 found that 93% of Women and 73% Men (83% average total) felt that the ease with which pornographic content can be viewed on the internet is damaging to children.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
- Sign the petition
- Contact your local MP
- Tell your family and friends
To protect children I call on the Government to force Internet Service Providers to make accessing pornography an adult only opt-in service.
Help us get the word out, support the Safety Net Campaign by donating now