Number of children watching porn reaches 'worrying' numbers

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The number of children under 11 years old who have watched online pornography has nearly doubled in the last year, according to the NSPCC.

In the past two years there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of calls to the charity helpline, Childline by children worried about online porn - from 529 to 844 calls.

“Worryingly, 135 calls were from children aged 11 and under,” the charity revealed, according to Metro.

Many of those who contacted the free 24-hour helpline said they felt ‘ashamed’, ‘guilty’ and ‘addicted’ after viewing porn online and some were being pressured into watching it by other young people.

The charity is calling for tougher laws to ensure porn websites strictly enforce age verification policies to protect children.

The NSPCC believes current proposals contained in the UK Parliament's Digital Economy Bill for commercial porn websites to require age verification do not go far enough, and is concerned that fines will be shrugged off by companies who breach the legislation.

John Cameron, Head of Helplines at the NSPCC, said: “The internet brings easily accessible harmful content into the home. Some children are accessing sexually explicit materials, which are distorting the way they perceive themselves and others.”

There were nearly 20,000 visits to the online pornography advice page on the Childline website in 2015/16 – up 33 per cent compared to the previous year.

Children aged 11 and under are more likely than 12 to 18 year-olds to contact Childline with concerns about viewing sexually explicit content online.

The charity suggested this could be because as children get older they become more desensitised to adult sexual images.

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