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Third of North East youngsters think watching porn is 'normal'; A third of 12 to 13-year-olds thought that watching porn was a normal part of their everyday lives, a survey has concluded.

Byline: Ruth Lognonne

A shocking poll of North East youngsters as young as 12 revealed one in three of them saw watching porn as "normal".

The NSPCC ChildLine survey, which makes for grim reading, also exposed 8% of those asked admitted to making or having been part of a sexually explicit video.

Of the 88 12-13 year-olds asked in the North East, 27% said they'd seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them and 34% thought that watching porn was a normal part of their lives.

A large portion (36%) of young people in the region said watching porn made them feel insecure about their own body.

ChildLine has launched a campaign to raise awareness and provide advice to young people about the harmful implications of an over exposure to porn following the survey results.

Peter Liver, director of ChildLine, said that it was important to talk openly about the issue.

"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."

He welcomed the announcement last week of plans to teach children from the age of 11 about rape and sexual consent as part of personal, social and health education (PSHE) in schools.

"Our campaign clearly complements this proposal," he said.

"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, ChildLine's founder, said it was shocking that children as young as 11 are approaching the helpline with concerns about pornography.

"Young people are turning to the internet to learn about sex and relationships," she said.

"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."

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2015
Words:418
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