Porn Warps Young Minds, Leads to Violence, Study Finds

An elementary school classroom.
An elementary school classroom. A leading children's charity believes that children are increasingly viewing pornography and may be "copying sexual activity they have witnessed." (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Access to online pornography is leading to thousands of sexual offenses in schools, an investigation has found.

A leading children's charity believes that children are increasingly viewing pornography and may be "copying sexual activity they have witnessed."

Last month, Channel 4 faced criticism after it aired a TV show featuring schoolchildren writing a pornography film script as part of a sex education class.

Offenses

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that more than 5,500 sex offenses in U.K. schools have been reported to the police over the last three years.

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Around 1,500 of the victims were under the age of 13. The offenses included more than 600 rapes and nearly 4,000 indecent assaults.

Some of the victims and perpetrators were as young as 5.

'Disturbing'

The head of sexual abuse program at the NSPCC, Jon Brown, blamed pornography:

"These figures are very disturbing, especially as many victims are so young and the reported offenses took place on school premises.

"We know that for some older children, accessing hardcore pornography is warping their view of what is acceptable behavior.

"And those of primary school age or even younger may be copying sexual activity they have witnessed."

'Tip of the Iceberg'

The head of child protection at the National Police Chiefs' Council, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said: "I believe these figures are the tip of the iceberg."

Exposure to pornography in school caused concern last month when Channel 4 broadcast a controversial sex education program.

"Sex in Class" saw 13 teenagers aged 15 and 16 at a school in Lancashire taking part in lessons taught by former Miss Belgium, Goedele Liekens.

'Inappropriate'

Rev. Kevin Logan, whose former parish of Christchurch includes the school, said: "This program is inappropriate. If I had been the headteacher or chairman of governors I would not have allowed it."

And local council leader Miles Parkinson expressed "concerns about the suitability" of the lessons.

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