Porno on the Web

by World Wide Ed on Tuesday, April 29, 1997

Another column dedicated solely to the most favorite pastime/nemesis of millions – “Pornography on the Web” – is here.

Good, you’re still with me. That can mean one of two things.

One – You despise pornography on the web so much that you are just waiting for this stupid columnist character to slip up, and then drill him on the ABC’s of the Communication Decency Act (Subdivision A, sector 4, fine print “Y”, yada yada yada …) and the morality of it all.

Or 2 – You are getting really bored of seeing every single web site and image link in your browser be purple or in your bookmarks, and you are waiting for this stupid columnist character to lead you through the gates of porno haven.

Sorry folks. I’m not going to favor one side over the other. Being the excellent journalist (though my editors beg to differ), I am going to take a neutral stand, weigh both sides evenly and then make my editorial comments regarding the whole issue.

Ok, pornography. Let’s face it, there’s a market for this smut (I’m siding with the “pro-porno” group if you can’t already tell).

In a recent study made by the people at Forrester Research, adult Web sites made approximately $52 million in 1996 – fully 1/10th of all retail business on the Web – but they conceded that their estimate was probably way low.

Why so popular you ask? Well, hold on while I ask everyone I know… all kidding aside, there are many more people who look at these websites than you know.

I will be the first to admit that I have witnessed a few in my day (why else do you think I look so happy in my new mug shot?), but I am by far not a regular.

My personal opinion is that the problem with these sites is “you see it one, you’ve seen them all.” The lure and excitement of nudity just loses its appeal after a while.

Unless you are a serious collector, or you’ve been a bit lonely as of late (because your Tamagotchi pet just died on you), then I don’t think there should be any reason for you to need these sites.

According to the research, the main reason these websites have such a strong market was that it was “comfortable” at home. Perhaps, finding an image on the web – pornographic in nature – is much easier/convenient, and a lot more private than having to go to the local bookstore to pick up the latest issue of “Big’uns” or “Smutville.”

There won’t be any worries about good ol’ mom cleaning under your bed anymore either.

Ok, let’s turn the tables now. I am going to have to break free from my roll of “Mr. I Love Nudity” and slip on into my new character “Kill-all-porno-on-the-web-man” (cue sounds of trumpets).

Reasons behind banning all pornography on the web? Well, it can all be summed up in one word: children.

With the influx of computers in the classroom as well as in society, the widespread availability and accessibility to computers with internet connection is all too great.

A child knowledgeable in browsing, discovering or exploring can easily come across an immense number of web sites, newsgroups, and other such presentation mediums that contain pornographic or explicit material.

This is very baaaad. It is somewhat the equivalent of allowing that same underaged child to freely thumb through the latest issue of “Big’uns,” as well as view any cable television station he wants!

I would have shivers down my spine if I found my kid surfing the latest in nude celebrities or the like. There are numerous filtering or screening-type services out there that can help to lesson the “fear” of underaged children viewing such explicit material.

Often times though, these programs can’t find, discover, screen and filter the new sites that keep popping up.

Also, I’ve read that if there are numerous sites on one domain with explicit material, these utilities often disallow access to all such sites on that given domain. This leaves you wondering what legitimate or substantial sites have you missed there as a result.

There are heavy issues and debates for both sides, such as constitutional rights and legalities concerning minors, but one thing is for sure: it’ll never die. There are always going to be people who feel strongly about their stand and how awful or evil the other “party” is.

Until a common consensus can be reached, webmasters everywhere will continue to post their favorite pornographic images and there will be those opposed to such promotion right there showing them to Subdivision A of some Act.

Happy surfing!

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