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Should The Internet Be Censored?? Essay

2685 words - 11 pages

IntroductionThe question of censorship has been raised throughout all forms of media and speech. Time has proven that censorship has been one of the most controversial topics that can ever be discussed or reviewed. Without the issue of censorship in terms of religious views, the Pilgrims may not have founded the colonies so many years ago. And with any controversial topic there will always be two opposing sides present. Recently, two terms have become synonymous with controversial--cyber-porn and hacking. In 1998, Dworkin and MacKinnon defined pornography as the "graphic sexually explicit subordination of women, men, children, or transsexuals through pictures and/or words..." and the fact ...view middle of the document...

Easton in 1994 even goes so far as to say that "the case of regulation has principally relied on the claim that obscene or pornographic materials may cause anti-social or illegal acts including sexual offenses" (p. 11). Despite some researchers claims that pornography may cause the opposite reaction by giving potential sex crime offenders a 'healthy' alternative, Easton states that "there is no substantial evidence of any reduction in sexual crime where pornography circulation rates have increased" (p. 12).The question on many people's minds is why wait until now to try to censor the Internet with regard to cyber-porn. According to recent studies, Downs (1989) says that:The availability of sexually explicit material has grown substantially in recent decades and there are well-publicized cases of men using pornography to manipulate others and as a model for violent practice. (p. 145)Still others question the legality of pornography when it used in defamation of character. This can be attributed to Internet sites whose prime purpose is to have nude or sexually explicit images or videos of prominent women or men available to consumers. Dworkin and MacKinnon (1988) write that "this practice is particularly common in the case of prominent movie stars, many of whom had to do nude modeling" (p. 51). Despite all this research and opinion on the subject, many people still support cyber-porn.One of the main arguments supporting pornography as a whole is that it is a useful tool for sex education. The Medical Institute for Sexual Health discussed in their brochure "Abstinence Vs. Safer Sex: Sexuality Education: A Comparison" the moral values that come into place with the use of sexually explicit teaching materials. The consensus is that the use of sexually explicit teaching materials should be age appropriated and that parents should sign a waiver form. This prevents the government from having to mandate anything that may be deemed inappropriate due to religious, ethical, and moral values.Another defense of cyber-porn is that there are already measures that have been taken to prevent a majority of under-aged web surfers from viewing pornographic materials. Specifically cyber-sex or porn Internet sites have adult checks where a guest must enter their credit card number in order to assure that the user is indeed 18 or older. In visiting approximately a dozen cyber-porn Internet sites, I personally found that over 95% had some age verification system installed. Many people view the Internet as all accessible but in truth it is not. In 1994, Wark stated:It is not possible to accidentally access pornography on the Internet; you choose to visit an Internet site. It is not like flicking on the remote and suddenly seeing an image in your living room. This is why it is not appropriate to treat the Internet as if it were a broadcast medium. The Internet has properties that make it like several media, but broadcasting is not one of them. (p. 1)This alludes to the...

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