Capital school to give pupils “porn lessons”

Fettes College. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Fettes College. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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Pupils at one of the Capital’s most exclusive private schools are set to receive “porn awareness” classes amid addiction fears.

Fettes College, which counts former prime minister Tony Blair among its alumni, has invited an internet expert to meet students later this year.

It comes after a growing body of research linked prolonged exposure to porn with a deterioration in mental health and impotence.

There have also been claims that addiction can harm studies, career prospects and relationships, with added warnings that it can escalate to viewing illegal images of child abuse.

Mary Sharpe, a lawyer and founder of The Reward Foundation, a charity that promotes healthy relationships, has already given porn awareness classes at George Heriot’s and Dollar Academy in Stirling.

A source close to one of the schools said the sessions were “brutal and direct” about the effects of porn addiction, with another source describing them as “interesting and valuable”.

And the method has proved so useful that Fettes – which charges fees of £32,200 a year – has decided to adopt it.

Sharpe said she had been invited to deliver the class later this year.

“These schools realise the damaging effect hard-core pornography can have on their pupils, in terms of their mental health and their studies,” added Sharpe.

Her foundation has compiled details of thousands of cases of young men from Britain and abroad who have spoken of the debilitating effect of their addiction.

Similar to drug-taking, Sharpe has warned that porn addicts’ tolerance levels increase with continued exposure and that their habit can escalate, with users seeking increasingly graphic material to satisfy them.

“Young men can quickly escalate from soft-core porn to hard-core porn, fetish porn and evil child porn, to satisfy their need for that shock factor,” she added.

Cameron Wyllie, the principal of George Heriot’s, said: “It’s really important that young people are exposed to the potential dangers of watching pornography through scientific studies that appear to show that excessive use of pornography is psychologically and mentally harmful.

“Evidence is growing that unprecedented exposure to pornography due to the internet, which is easily accessed via smartphones and tablets, is desensitising young men and leaving them unable to get aroused with a sexual partner.”

In June, NHS Lothian called in Sharpe to meet with staff at its Chalmers Street sexual health clinic to raise awareness of porn-induced impotence.