24/08/2012 12:34 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

50 Children A Month Call ChildLine After Seeing Internet Porn

50 children a month call ChildLine after seeing internet porn Getty

ChildLine counsellors are dealing with more than 50 calls each month from children who have viewed videos or images of hardcore pornography on the internet.

The number of calls has risen by 34 per cent in a year, and some are coming from teenagers who worry that they are becoming addicted to porn. Others come from children who are upset after inadvertently viewing adult images.

It is also being reported that girls have also called the helpline because they are being pressured to re enact the videos they have seen online, with some finding themselves in sexually abusive relationships as a result.

In a recent article for the Daily Mail, ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen writes: "At ChildLine we are worried that we are hearing more and more often from children and teenagers who are suffering serious abuse from other young people.

"We believe from what our callers tells us that this may be because hardcore adult videos are now just a few clicks away for many teenagers, and this may be warping their understanding of what is normal - so they are mimicking behaviour which is quite unacceptable and frankly disturbing, even dangerous."

As a result, she has said that she would like to see a comprehensive 'opt-in' system, where over-18s would have to specifically say that they wanted to be allowed to access adult content, following an age verification process.

Now, both ChildLine and the NSPCC are campaigning for more action to educate children and parents on the dangers of internet porn and the Department of Education is consulting on whether controls should be tightened.

Jon Brown, the NSPCC's lead spokesperson on sexual abuse prevention, told The Daily Mail: "With over 4million pornographic websites on the internet, an increasing number of children are learning about sex and personal relationships through the warped lens of adult porn.

"Pornography sends out unrealistic messages and expectations and is a poor and damaging sex educator for young people.

"Though there are filters to block this material, they rely on users having the understanding and ability to activate them. Putting the onus on adults to make a decision to view pornography online, rather than having it freely available to everyone, would go a long way to shield children."