Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The need to talk about porn and release all the data

Today childline launched a new campaign (FAPZ) to help young people make sense of the powerful influence online porn can have on young people. I welcome any new or renewed effort to help tackle this issue. What ever adults personally think about adults consuming porn, it clearly is not meant for young people. Below is a tweet from Simon Blake (CEO of Brook)
It is very worrying to hear Childline reporting high numbers of calls to their phone line where online porn is a key issue. And this will just be a tip of the iceberg of the influence porn is having. When I talk about Childline in high schools I have meet many young people who think its not for them because they aren't a child so they wont ring it. Such a shame. 

However, the NSPCC could strengthen their campaign by releasing the full details of the report they have been quoting statistics from. It is very alarming to read 

But for Relationship and Sex educators who are leading lessons on the topic and helping schools structure their curriculum we hunger for some more details. 

For example since January 2012 I have been providing lessons on how the media (and especially porn) distort people's perception of sex. In most schools I normally deliver this lesson to 14-16 year olds. In conjunction with teaching staff we identified this as a target age where a high % of young people have seem explicit images. But maybe our perception is wrong and we need to start this lesson earlier. 

The Esteem Resource Network recently released a survey of 1000 young people report on encountering explicit sexual media. I was involved with this survey and in this survey we found out some interesting things. Such as

  • 67% of young people have encountered explicit sex scenes visually and 47% of young people have encountered explicit sex scenes in written form
  • Internet videos are the most common medium through which young people see explicit sex scenes
  • Young people’s definitions of what is classified as an explicit sex scene appears to change as they get older

This report had an age range of 12-16 and across the ages we see how exposure to internet explicit sexual media seems to rapidly increase with age but TV and film stays a lot steadier. This survey was undertaken because it can sometimes be hard to know what topics to focus on and what topics to tackle at what age. The more data we have the better our RSE can be. 

Helpful Links  

Esteem Resource Network report on young people encountering explicit sexual media. 

Romance academy Lets Talk About Porn roadshow

Childline FAPZ campaign

P.S. Really intrigued who came up with the childline surnames of characters,
Professor Ophelia Balls, 
Jack Sofalot, (my favourite) 
Faye Cummings 
and Drew Peacock