A group of YouTubers star in a series of videos produced by the charity, which aim to educate young people about pornography.
Tom Ridgewell, Hazel Hayes, Benjamin Cook, Rebecca Brown, Patricia Bright, Hannah Witton and Jimmy Hill have all provided voice overs for ChildLine’s new campaign. The animated series called F.A.P.Z: The Fight Against Porn Zombies aims to raise awareness amongst young people about the potential negative side effects of watching online porn.
After conducting a poll of nearly 700 12-13 year olds in the UK, ChildLine found that nearly one in five said they’d seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them, one in ten said they were worried they were addicted to porn and 12% admitted they had made or been part of a sexually explicit video.
Each animation features a squad of agents who, under the guidance of Professor Ophelia Balls, help young people recognise when their actions may be being influenced by what porn has led them to believe. Telling us more about the Professor, the character that she voices, Hazel tells TenEighty: “Well Ophelia, like myself of course, is the voice of reason. She’s cool, calm and collected and handles the topic of porn in a mature but witty way, without getting embarrassed at all, which I like. In the world of F.A.P.Z. she’s the boss, overseeing this (rather ridiculous) operation.”
Speaking more about F.A.P.Z, Hazel believes ChildLine has produced an informative campaign about the pros and cons of porn, without being preachy or patronising. “They get across the message that porn can be entertaining, but that people should be wary of watching too much or taking it too literally,” she says. “It’s a really upbeat, funny and borderline off-the-wall animation which you can tell a lot of work has gone into, both in terms of the animation itself and the script.”
The first episode went live on March 13 and features Hazel alongside Tom as F.A.P.Z operative Jack Soffalot. The second episode stars Rebecca as Faye Cummings, and the third sees Ben become Drew Peacock. Additional voices have been provided by Patricia, Jimmy and Hannah.
Hazel has also addressed the topic in a video on her channel, A Guide To Porn, in which she lists five pointers that we should all take into consideration when watching porn. “I think pornography can have a massive effect on people of any age, but on young people especially,” she tells TenEighty.
“Young people’s sexuality and attitude towards sex and relationships are still forming and it’s quite a vulnerable phase where outside influences can have a big impact,” Hazel continues. “I’ve read about studies which show that viewing violent porn can make some men with already aggressive tendencies far more likely to commit violent sexual acts. Other studies have shown lower levels of intimacy in the real-life relationships of men who watch a lot of porn and lower self esteem in those same men’s girlfriends.”
Admitting that a lot of these studies focus on male consumption of porn, Hazel affirms that it’s not an issue that only affects one gender, but everyone. “I think all people put pressure on themselves and on their sexual partners to recreate what they see in porn, instead of just going with the flow and learning about what they do and don’t like naturally.” she says. “Then there are situations where people ‘need’ porn to get aroused because of overstimulation and those who suffer from porn compulsion. So like I said in my video, porn should be viewed in moderation and treated like an action film; entertaining but not very realistic.”
Peter Liver, the Director of ChildLine said: “Children of all ages today have easy access to a wide range of pornography and if we as a society shy away from talking about this issue, then we are failing the thousands of young people it is affecting.”
“We need to remove the embarrassment and shame that exists around talking about porn – which is why we are launching this activity and helping young people to make more informed choices.”
For more information about the campaign visit www.childline.org.uk/fapz, or to find out what happened when TenEighty took Carrie Fletcher, Gary C, Hannah Witton and George Long to the ChildLine offices in October click here.
ChildLine are a free, confidential advice service for young people aged 18 and under that are available 24 hours a day. They can be contacted through their helpline on 0800 1111 or via online chat or email via www.childline.org.uk.