NewsCourts

Charity concerned about kids watching porn online

Charity concerned about kids watching porn online

THE Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) is raising concerns over an increase in children accessing pornography online.

Chief executive of the ISPCC, Grainia Long, said she was aware of cases in which adults have even been allowing children to access illicit material.

It comes as the ISPCC released its annual report yesterday, showing there were 621,830 calls to its hotline for children, Childline.

Ms Long said the organisation had been receiving calls from children who have been disturbed by what they have seen on the internet.

“Our volunteers will say that this is one of the areas where they have seen a real shift and a real pattern over the last number of years,” she said.

The charity boss said there was an increase in calls from children who viewed pornography which has “really worried them and scared them”.

 In some cases, the child may have stumbled across the material accidentally.

Ms Long pointed to the language children used as an indicator as to whether they are watching pornography on a regular basis.

“[There are] children who will view it on a regular basis and that then manifests itself in the language that they use and our volunteers would be very concerned,” she added.

“They’ll notice the difference between a child who is maybe just using a word because they are saying it for a first time and a child who actually uses it because they use it on a regular basis,” she said.

“Our volunteers would say that kind of behaviour is happening younger and younger.

“We certainly would have a concern that in some cases, adults are allowing children to watch pornography, aren’t regulating it, or simply aren’t watching what their children are watching online,” she said.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said the issue had been raised with her recently by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

“We’re going to be taking a look at that, hopefully before we all go off on break for holiday,” she said, regarding implantation of a cyber strategy. Luke Byrne