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Children are now so sexualised

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BRITAIN – It’s called the new flirting.

An investigation by Channel 4, a British public-service television broadcaster, has revealed that boys and girls as young as 13 routinely swap explicit pictures of themselves.

The investigation said the children are now so sexualised that the practice has become “mundane and mainstream”.

Pupils aged from 13 to 16 admitted to Channel 4 News that intimate photos helped them to decide who to date, Daily Mail reported.

One girl told researchers: “I get asked for naked pictures at least two or three times a week.”

A boy said: “It might shock parents – this is what kids get up to but it’s just everyday life.

It’s natural, it’s all part of growing up.”

Insight into the pornography increasingly exchanged by young teenagers came from interviews carried out for the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Channel 4’s Generation Sex series.

Said Professor Andy Phippen, the Plymouth University academic who carried out the study: “This is mainstream; this is normal; this is almost mundane for some of the people we spoke to.

“In pretty much every school in the country, people aged 13 and 14 are talking about this stuff and dealing with this stuff.”

Prof Phippen, who is a social responsibility expert, also held sessions with 10 and 11-year-olds.

He found that most have received online abuse as well as messages from strangers.

Mr Jon Brown of the NSPCC said: “What we’re seeing is that there is a very regular and normal consumption of hardcore adult pornography – that the sharing of explicit sexual imagery by photos or by video clips is now extremely normal.

“It’s important to recognise what was previously regarded as unusual, concerning, or sensationalist, now has in fact become the norm.”

The focus groups found that the influence of porn was pervasive, the report said.

A 15-year-old girl said that boys expected certain things of girls because they had become used to seeing it in online pornography.

Lack of decent sex education

The boys told the study team that in the absence of decent sex education, they were turning to online porn to learn about sex and relationships.

And the easy availability was having a weakening effect on them.

Mr Brown added: “Good quality sex education is absolutely critical. It needs to start in primary school. It needs to be age-appropriate, if we are able to help them navigate their way through these pressures.”

Despite the fact that access to Facebook is supposed to be restricted to those aged 13 and above, the study found that most 10 and 11-year-olds are on social networking sites.

Meanwhile, the British censors were forced to announce a crackdown on depraved films amid fears they distort the way teenage boys view women.

The British Board of Film Classification will ban movies or cut scenes to protect the vulnerable.

The study also found that porn is frequently viewed by boys aged 13 and 14, and while the children acknowledge there is potential for harm, they do not feel they are affected.

– The New Paper