A NORTH-EAST MP is leading calls for a system of checks to be introduced to stop anyone under-18 accessing online pornography.

Helen Goodman, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, has tabled a number of amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which will be debated by MPs in Parliament tonight (Monday, May 12).

Mrs Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, has been outspoken in her calls for the introduction of robust age verification.

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“I am moving amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which require pornographic sites have a system in place to check people are over 18,” she said.

“I am hoping the Government will accept the amendments when they are debated on Monday night.”

Mrs Goodman reiterated her internet safety message during a visit to Staindrop Academy, in Staindrop, County Durham.

The school is one of a number throughout the country which has signed up to the Well Versed Campaign, an internet safety project being led by Google, advice and support group Parent Zone and youth engagement agency Livity.

Aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds, Well Versed encourages young people to discuss and post film clips online featuring their tips for internet safety.

Teachers are also given an assembly plan and training to help them spark pupils enthusiasm for the campaign.

It coincides with research showing nine out of ten teenagers sleep next to their mobile phones, with eight out of ten regularly watching YouTube.

Mrs Goodman added: “The internet is great, but children must be safe.

“With young people spending more and more time online, it is really important that we do everything to keep them safe.

“Many young people will know far more than their parents and teachers about the online world, so it’s vital that we listen to their views and experiences.”

Mrs Goodman added: “We are pleased that industry is now taking the initiative to work with children.”

The Northern Echo continues to support improved internet safety through its Safety Net campaign.

The campaign was launched after Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall was murdered in 2009 by convicted sex offender Peter Chapman, who had posed as a 19-year-old on Facebook.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of internet safety and make it a compulsory part of the school curriculum.