Many children fear web porn addiction
Many children fear web porn addictionGetty

An astonishing one in ten of British children has taken part in a sex video, while a fifth of them think they are hooked on web porn, according to a study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

The NSPCC said it received an average of 18,000 messages about online porn from youngsters every month.

Some 12% of children reported making a sexually explicit video and 18% said they were upset by pornographic material, to which they had been exposed.

Campaigners said children regularly accessed porn by accident while trying to look for educational information about sex and relationships.

The disturbing figures prompted calls for better classroom lessons about relationships for youngsters.

Campaigner and TV host Esther Rantzen said the impact of web porn was particularly bad upon girls, putting pressure on them to take part in acts for which they do not feel ready and causing body image worries.

"Young people are turning to the internet to learn about sex and relationships," she said. "We know they are frequently stumbling across porn, often unintentionally, and they are telling us very clearly that this is having a damaging and upsetting effect on them.

"Girls in particular have said they feel like they have to look and behave like porn stars to be liked by boys.

"We absolutely have to talk to young people about sex, love, respect and consent as soon as we feel they are ready."

Plans have been drawn up to tell pupils in schools about rape and the matter of consent. Childline, a phone helpline for minors, provides opportunity for discussion about web porn and its impact.

Childline director Peter Liver said: "Across society, we need to remove the embarrassment and shame that exists around talking about porn - which is why we have launched a ChildLine campaign to help young people to make more informed choices."