16 June 2016
Children at risk from pornography
A Christian charity is urging the government to protect children at risk of becoming desensitised to online pornography.
The new survey by the NSPCC says children are watching so much pornography that an entire generation is at risk of being robbed of their childhoods.
Alliance member CARE urged the government to speed up its response to protecting children online.
Nola Leach, CEO of CARE, said: "This new survey is both shocking and hugely alarming. The fight to protect the childhood innocence has reached a critical juncture.
"We cannot sit back and allow the rising generation of children to be robbed of their childhoods because of a largely unregulated porn industry. The damage porn does to a child's understanding of normal sexual behaviours is truly disturbing.
The survey, carried out by Middlesex University was jointly commissioned by the NSPCC and the children's commissioner for England and shows around 53 per cent of 11-16 year olds have seen graphic porn content online and 94 per cent of them had viewed adult content by the time they were just 14 years old.
In total 1,001 children aged between 11-16 years old were questioned and the survey found 65 per cent of 15-16 year olds had viewed porn, as had 28 per cent of 11-12 year olds.
More than half of the boys surveyed, 53 per cent, said they thought porn was a realistic portrayal of sex, as did 39 per cent of girls. More than a third of 13-14 year olds and a fifth of 11-12 year old boys also said they wanted to copy the action they had seen.
The government used the recent Queen's Speech to commit to introducing age-verification on all porn sites and it is anticipated that they will publish their response to the public consultation on the proposals shortly.
Nola Leach continued: "We would urge the government to accelerate its welcome age-verification plans and also to give its backing to Baroness Howe's Online Safety Bill, which is by far the best piece of legislation yet produced to protect young people from accessing deliberately or accidently pornography online.
"Children deserve the strongest possible protection online so it is vital that immediate action is taken."
CARE is jointly hosting the P-Word conference on June 23 with Naked Truth. It will bring together a range of experts to explore a practical Christian response to the issue of pornography: www.pwordconference.com
Alliance member CVM offers resources for those struggling with pornography. Visit their website to find out more about dealing with online addiction here. (http://cvm.org.uk/porn-free)
As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, CARE is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact and provide training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media.
If you would like to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance as an organisation, church or individual, you can find out more here.