Keeping children safe online is one of our top priorities—it’s essential the issue also stays at the top of the government's agenda, says Dr. Julia Fossi
The government announced in their manifesto earlier this year that they will work to ensure that all pornography websites are placed behind effective access controls.
We support this. Because at the NSPCC, we know the damage inappropriate content can do to children.
Many young people look at pornography to find out more about sex and relationships. But the extreme, violent or degrading depictions of sex they see can have a very harmful impact. Children often feel ashamed, guilty or confused by what they’ve seen online. And it’s concerning to learn that they often feel unable to talk to a family member, trusted adult or friend. In many cases, this isolation can even lead to self-harm.
"We all understand the importance of keeping children safe in the offline world. The same must apply in the online world. "
Julia Fossi / Senior Analyst: Child Safety Online, Policy and Public Affairs Team
In fact, ChildLine carried out 1,229 counselling sessions last year in which children were concerned about being exposed to sexually explicit online content. Viewing online porn often has a harmful impact on children’s self-esteem and body image. It changes their sexual expectations. And it can warp their understanding of consent and relationships. Adult content can even make children and young people feel pressured to make sexual videos of themselves which are then shared online, often without their consent.