Plague of porn puts kids’ health at risk

Sunday Mirror - - KHAN SAIRA -

Porn is ev­ery­where. It has spread from the top shelves to our tablets, lap­tops and phones. And it has spread into our play­grounds.

As a mum of two young chil­dren, one of my great­est wor­ries is of them be­ing ex­posed to pornog­ra­phy at such an early age. It is such a bru­tal end to in­no­cence.

Re­search by the NSPCC has shown that half of 11 to 16-year-olds have seen some sort of ex­plicit ma­te­rial on­line – most by the time they turn 14.

And it is so easy to find. A quick on­line search and you can see all man­ner of nasty sex. Weird and re­volt­ing stuff. If you can think of it, some­one will be on­line do­ing it.

When I was grow­ing up, my only un­der­stand­ing of porn was walk­ing past sex shops with blacked-out win­dows. The shifty blokes sneak­ing in just looked a bit sad and laugh­able. Or there were top shelf mags in newsagents, where a flash of boob might make school­boys gig­gle.

The clos­est thing I ever got to porn was the film Porky’s, and even then I was so in­no­cent I didn’t re­ally know what the heck was go­ing on.

But times have changed. And yet again, par­ents are fight­ing to keep up with them.

I got to re­ally un­der­stand the ef­fect porn can have when I met Sean Ward on Loose Women this week. He’s best known as Cor­rie bad boy Cal­lum Lo­gan. But life away from the cob­bles has been tough for Sean, who ad­mit­ted he had an ad­dic­tive per­son­al­ity and has been bat­tling de­pres­sion.

He told me he’s given up booze, cannabis and porn to beat his demons but said porn was the worst. He calls it “the devil” and says it ru­ins re­la­tion­ships.

He reck­ons he got hooked on it be­cause he was bored and that it needs to come with some kind of men­tal health warn­ing.

It took real courage for him to ad­mit he has a prob­lem and it brought home what a ma­jor ef­fect it can have on lives.

He has re­ceived hun­dreds of mes­sages of sup­port from peo­ple who have been af­fected by porn ad­dic­tion – men and women.

Sean could get his hands on porn so eas­ily. And so can our kids.

They are stum­bling across ex­treme and vi­o­lent porn on­line ev­ery day as eas­ily as they can search for videos of cute cats play­ing the pi­ano.

And par­ents can’t mon­i­tor their ev­ery sec­ond on­line. So we need help. Help from the so­cial me­dia giants and the clever peo­ple in Sil­i­con Val­ley. Help from the Gov­ern­ment.

Cig­a­rettes have to be hid­den be­hind cup­board doors in shops by law. But no one is pro­tect­ing our kids’ men­tal health from the dan­gers of porn.

We have these big de­bates about when we should give kids sex ed­u­ca­tion in the class­room.

The re­al­ity is it just takes one mate with a smart­phone to show them a com­pletely skewed view of it on the way to school.

Girls and boys are in­doc­tri­nated into think­ing they have to live up to the un­re­al­is­tic per­for­mance tak­ing place on screen.

What they see on a com­puter round a mate’s house or on a lap­top in their own rooms could dam­age them for ever, and de­stroy their chances of a lov­ing re­la­tion­ship with ‘nor­mal’ sex.

Of course young peo­ple are cu­ri­ous. Porn is not go­ing away. But surely we need to make it tougher for them to get it? It needs to stay in the realms of naughty – not some­thing to mind­lessly click on when you’re bored.

It’s way past time that we had the on­line equiv­a­lent of that top shelf, to shield our in­no­cent kids.

DAM­AGED By porn

PART­NER With Mark

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