The average child in Britain begins consuming harmful pornography online at the age of 13 while as many as ten per cent start watching the often violent and disturbed content at the age of nine, a government report has found.
A paper issued by Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza this week said that there is an “urgent need to protect children from the harms of online pornography,” with the report noting that “by age nine, 10 per cent had seen pornography, 27 per cent had seen it by age 11 and half of children who had seen pornography had seen it by age 13.”
According to Dame Rachel, online pornography is far more extreme than the adult content that many adults may have experienced as a child, saying that “top shelf” magazines would seem “quaint” in comparison to the explicit material children have access to today.
“Depictions of degradation, sexual coercion, aggression and exploitation are commonplace, and disproportionately targeted against teenage girls,” she said.
“I am deeply concerned about the normalisation of sexual violence in online pornography, and the role that this plays in shaping children’s understanding of sex and relationships,” the Children’s Commissioner added.
I am today publishing a new report examining children's exposure to pornography & the impact it has on their self-esteem, body image, & relationships.
New analysis of survey data has found that the average age a child first watches pornography is 13. https://t.co/eTjC4RI1T8
— Children's Commissioner for England (@ChildrensComm) January 31, 2023
The report also found that the porn being accessed by children is often violent in nature, showing “coercive, degrading, or pain-inducing sex acts,” with 79 per cent of those under the age of 18 viewing such material.
In addition, the Children’s Commission report said that pornography is no longer only confined to adult websites, with twitter being the website where the majority of children accessed pornography.
The publication of the report comes amid the push by the government to implement the Online Safety Bill, which if implemented would impose strict age verification system for adult websites as well as introducing other regulations on pornography sites.
Though the main focus of the bill would be to protect children from harmful material online, civil liberties campaigners have warned that the legislation goes too far in further policing “offensive” content on the internet and would seriously impact freedom of speech. The Online Safety Bill would empower Britain’s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, to monitor social media sites, with the power to fine companies up to ten per cent of their global revenue if they fail to remove content deemed “grossly offensive” by the government.
Pornography use warps one’s perception of reality, how individuals view loved ones, and brings about significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, according to a new study. https://t.co/ujTPt2g6th
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 16, 2022
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka