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Page last updated at 07:15 GMT, Friday, 20 April 2012 08:15 UK

'Porn is a poor sex educator'


A new book by former call girl Dr Brooke Magnanti, known by her pen name Belle du Jour, argues that the debate on the sex industry in Britain is founded on myth, inconclusive research and manipulated statistics.

It comes in the same week that a report commissioned by MPs concluded that internet providers should do more to help parents prevent their children from viewing pornography.

Dr Magnanti told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that in her book The Sex Myth: Why Everything We're Told is Wrong, she explores whether we know enough about the effects of pornography to make a judgement.

The problem, she said, is overstated "to the extent that we expect the government to do something about it" rather than giving parents the support and tools to educate children about sex.

She claimed that the conclusion of the report is like suggesting we need "a giant on/off switch for porn on the internet... but the genie is out of the bottle". Families need more support "rather than a top down approach," she said.

But Claire Perry MP, who commissioned the report for the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection, said that porn on the internet is essentially "a social experiment without knowing the consequences".

In an ideal world, she said, parents should be responsible but internet filters are technologically obsolete. Children, she said, "are more educated, tech savvy and online than parents".

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