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Limiting Children's Access to Internet Pornography

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Pornography is one of mankind's most revered, respected, and repulsed pastimes. Adults can use pornography to relieve stress, enhance their sex lives, or simply as a means of entertainment. One of the easiest and most popular ways of obtaining pornographic material is over the Internet. The only downside is that the Internet is accessible to children; therefore, pornography is accessible to children. While adults should have limitless access to Internet porn, minors should be kept away from this concubine.

Usage of Internet pornography grows rapidly every day. It can be accessed easily enough by anyone that wishes to see the material, has a modem, and some times a wishful intent. The material ranges from semi-nude photos to videos of men and women having sexual intercourse with farm animals. Porn is attainable by going to a site that advertises it, or by typing anything remotely perverted in your web browser. The problem with this is that most pornographic sites do not use adult verification systems. Even if they do, the material can still be sampled before users fully journey into the site. This is where the problems lye; because of Internet pornography's popularity and the growth being so strong it is everywhere and has become hard to adequately control.

It is probable to say that anyone who has been on the net long enough, regardless of age, will come across Internet pornography. Proprietors of Internet pornography are in business to make money, and will do anything to achieve this. They advertise their websites by a variety of ways, one of which is by buying space on a website. With this many problems arise, for anyone who visits these sites become unwilling subjects of Internet porn. The Internet porn industry has little regards for the unknowing victim.

Some advocates of decency have taken up the tremendous workload of taming Internet pornography. Their biggest reason is the endangerment of American children that use the Internet. Children can be endangered in many ways, one of which is being lured by a pedophile and possibly sexually assaulted. A pedophile is an adult with a psychosexual disorder where children stimulate sexual arousal. There is evidence that children who have been sexually victimized are more likely to be troubled adults. Advocates worry about the safety of the American children and wish to eliminate this from happening. A recent example is People v. Barrows, 174 Misc. 2d 367, 664 N.Y.S. 2d 410 (1997): an adult, James Barrows, entered an AOL chat room and seduced what he thought was a thirteen year old girl, who in actuality was an officer of Kings County District Attorney. Barrows had transmitted pictures of under-aged children having sex, engaged in sexually explicit conversations and attempted to lure the child to engage in sexual acts. Barrows was one of the few pedophiles to be caught and brought to justice.

One proposal that was struck down from protecting children is the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, argued that the CDA was in violation of the U.S. Constitution and laws that would be enacted were clear and undefined. If made into law, the CDA could severely censor the Internet in ways that were never attempted before. It would filter out anything that is deemed obscene and pornographic. Those opposed to the CDA claim because of its ambiguity, the CDA could infringe on American's Constitutional rights. The CDA proposed that anyone sending material classified as obscene to a minor would be penalized and prosecuted under law. The question in debate is who and what would determine the classification of obscene.

Even if the CDA was passed little that can be done to stop all transmitted obscene material. The Internet has experienced an extraordinary growth. The number of host computers--those that store information and relay communications--increased from about 300 in 1981 to approximately 9,400,000 by the time of the trial in 1996. Roughly 60% of these hosts are located in the United States. About 40 million people used the Internet at the time of trial, a number that expected to mushroom to 200 million by 2000. How can it be possible



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