Internet Pornography and Teens
This essay discusses the social impact of exposing teens to internet pornography.
In a report, "Generation Rx.com: How Young People Use the Internet for Health Information," the Kaiser Family Foundation says that seventy (70%) of teenagers (defined as ages 15-17) "have accidentally come across pornography on the Web." Fifty-seven percent of the teens said "being exposed to pornography would have serious impact on kids under 18," while 41% teens responded that such exposure is "no big deal."(Generation)
Clearly, there is a major failure of adult responsibility when almost three out of four teens report they have accidentally come across pornography on the Web. The biggest failure of responsibility lies with federal and state prosecutors who turn a blind eye to obscenity on the Internet. If obscenity laws were being vigorously enforced, the last thing hardcore pornographers would want to do is draw attention to their vile wares by engaging in reckless marketing methods. If vigorously enforced, there would also be much less pornography to accidentally stumble across.
But prosecutors aren't the only ones at fault. Some ISPs provide parents with an option to filter out the pornography, but they refuse to block access to even illegal pornography unless a parent requests filtering. Some on-line services have rules against pornography, but they refuse to actively monitor use of their services for violations.
Many libraries and schools refuse to install screening technology -- arguing that rules and monitoring computer use can protect children from Internet porn. Even assuming such means discouraged teens from actively seeking pornography, how do they protect from accidental exposure?
Part of the blame must also fall on parents who don't use screening technology on their home computers; but no technology is perfect and technology on home computers cannot protect kids when they are at school or work or at a friend's house or the library.
The Kaiser Family Foundation's report noted that while a majority of teens believe exposure to on-line pornography could have a serious impact, "a sizeable minority (41%) says such exposure 'is no big deal.'"(Ibid.)
A sizable minority of teens thinks that unprotected sex, cocaine,...