London, May 24 (IANS) Children accessing pornography are more likely to have sex at a younger age and engage in "risky behaviours", a British report has warned.

The Office of the Children's Commissioner has called for urgent action to "develop children's resilience to pornography" after discovering that a "significant" number of them have access to sexually explicit images, The Independent reported Friday.

The report, commissioned by the office as part of its national inquiry into child sexual exploitation in gangs, is based on a review of academic research including 41,000 items of literature.

It has recommended that the department for education to ensure all schools deliver effective relationship and sex education, which should include safe use of the Internet.

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England, said: "We are living at a time when violent and sadistic imagery is readily available to very young children, even if they do not go searching for it, their friends may show it to them or they may stumble on it while using the Internet."

She said for years one applied age restrictions to films at the cinema "but now we are permitting access to far more troubling imagery via the Internet. It is a risky experiment to allow a generation of young people to be raised on a diet of pornography".

It found that access to porn can lead to young people engaging in "risky behaviours" such as sex at a younger age, unprotected anal sex and the use of drugs and alcohol during sex.

The report also said that access to porn could influence children's sexual beliefs, developing unrealistic attitudes about sex, bad attitudes towards relationships and beliefs that women were sex objects.

It also said that a "significant proportion" of children were exposed to or access pornography, which could occur both online and offline.

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