Online porn seen by 200,000 kids in one month, study says

Wed, 2 Apr 2014

At least 200,000 under 16-year-olds saw internet porn in a single month last year, the online video watchdog has said.

The Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), found that one in twenty UK visitors to adult websites during December 2013 was under 18.

ATVOD called for an urgent response from the Government, saying children need to be protected from such content.

Online

For the research, the watchdog used data from a panel of around 45,000 people in the UK who agreed to have their internet usage analysed.

The study revealed that one in five of all UK males between 12 and 17 who went online looked at an adult website.

The same age group were responsible for over 110,000 visits to one pornographic website alone.

Mobile phones

However, ATVOD’s report pointed out “it is very likely that the scale of use remains under-stated”.

It said this was because mobile phones and tablet computers were excluded from the research for technical reasons – only desktops and laptops were considered.

ATVOD commented that the videos people looked at were similar to R18 videos that can only be sold to adults who visit sex shops.

Yet the online porn sites “made equivalent (and stronger) material available to any visitor, of any age”, it said.

Responsible

The regulator called for government legislation to help stop money going to online sites that allow under 18-year-olds to access hardcore pornography.

The coalition Government said it would “continue to work with industry and others to look at where further action could be taken” on the issue.

Labour backed ATVOD’s call and said: “It is only by threatening to cut off the flow of money that we will force these websites to act responsibly”.

Desensitise

The study came as HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, which inspects policing in England and Wales, warned about the effect of online pornography on children.

Its report warned that “violence and sexually explicit material available to children on smartphones and other devices desensitise them and distort and confuse their perceptions of normal behaviour”.