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Research paper topic: Cyber Porn - 1583 words
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Cyber Porn Imagine a place where you have access to anything and everything one could want. Some would say that is only existent in a utopia, and some would say that describes the Internet. Many adults go on to the net and access pornographic material that would be unsuitable for children. This is called cyberporn. The controversy lies in the fact that children are accessing these materials also. Government, activist groups, and concerned parents are fighting to regulate obscene material found over the Internet to protect children.
The first amendment is the only thing protecting adults from losing their rights to obtain pornographic or indecent material on the net. Under the first amendment the government must not regulate cyberporn. Online sex has been around since the first bulletin boards were available over the computer in the early 1980's. People would pay to down load pornographic pictures and talk dirty to each other. Usenet groups took control of porn after the Internet came about. They did not charge people to down load picture and to interact with others.
In result, Internet porn grew (Rosen 16). Things have changed drastically since then with over a million different sites available to access porn. Now it is not just for adults. Children are accessing the obscene materials. This brings rise to issues of how to protect them from problems that can arise. The materials they view, could influence children. They could also be subjected to cybersex in a chat room full of people that could be three times their age.
Worst of all pedophilias could influence children to meet with them outside of the computer. The government and the United States citizens must now figure out how to protect our children from the effects of cyberporn, and yet at the same time protect the adults from loosing their constitutional rights. In response to the need to protect children the Communications Decency Act was passed. The first part of the CDA states if you display "indecent" or "patently offensive" information on the Internet, "in a manner available to a person under eighteen years of age," you are a criminal and have broken the law. The second part of the CDA reads you have a defense against prosecution if you take "reasonable, effective, and appropriate action" by restricting access to minors by needing a credit card (verified), debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification number.
This act is to be thought of as a way to legally zone porn behind and electric gate that can only be accessed by those who have adult identification. To receive full access to pornographic materials, one can pay a one-time fee of $9.95 to an "Adult Check" service (Levy 54). Also the Child Pornography Protection Act has been passed. It is to combat the use of computer technology that enables a pornographer to alter a picture of a child to make it seem as though the child engaged in an explicit sex act (Quittner 74). Rulings about child pornography have existed for years and will always enacted whether it is in the cyber universe or in magazine and movies.
State laws are also being made against smut found on the inter net. New York passed a law making information found on the Internet that would be illegal if published in a book or magazine, illegal. People who violate the law could receive up to four years in jail (Rosen 16). The Exon amendment, if passed, will make communication between adults limited and restrict kids from accessing these materials. This is part of the House of Representatives Contract with the American people saying that they need to protect children from the exposure to pornography over the Internet (Rafter A3).
The Supreme court is having a lot of conflict with these new laws so until they can be passed parents will need to use the technology that is already available to censor the net. Children can get into a lot of trouble and bad situations while visiting a cyberporn site. The worst possible situation is if they were becoming a victim of a pedophile while in a cybersex chat room. After visiting some of the sites, "..pedophiles will use the materials to arouse themselves and then seek out children..Whether its simulated technology or its the real stuff, it arms a pedophile so its easier to find children and molest them. (Stevens A4)." With out needing to identify yourself on the net, it is easy for adults to engage in obscene conversations with children. Pedophiles also go into childrens chat rooms and persuade them to give out information like a telephone number or address so they can arrange a"visit".
This opens the opportunity for physical harm to be done to a child. Kids are very eager to view pornographic materials. It is to hard to purchase them if you are under the age of 18, but they have no problem finding what they want on the Internet. The only problem is that some of the pictures viewed on the net are worse than what you would find in a typical porno-magazine. These images also if viewed at an unsuitable age could influence a child the wrong way.
When an immature kid views a "woman bound and being burned by cigarettes, pierced with swords, and having sex with a German shepherd," can create false images of women and a pseudo reality. It also introduces kids to sex at a much earlier age than ever before (Levy 55). President Clinton expresses, "..that our Constitution allows us to help parents by enforcing this act (censorship of the Internet) to prevent children from being exposed to objectionable material transmitted through computer networks (Bray C7)." Many parents are in an uproar since discovering the dangers to children on the Internet. Parents all over have been pulling the plug on their kids after discovering what they have access to and why they spend so much time of the computer. One woman expresses when she found out her sons were viewing "pornographic pictures in full color" how horrified she was and immediately discontinued their use of the net. When parents view materials accessed by their kids they find that most of the material is not suitable for most adults (Tipton 67).
An even bigger fear than viewing the material is finding out that their child has an older "cyberpal". "Theres a lot of sick people out there and those people think they have a right to these things," complains an angry mother (Stevens A4). Parents can not always be there with their children to make sure that they can see that they are not accessing smut. It is too easy for kids to get around the electronic gates that the need for a credit card to access sites when they can steal their parents. There are a lot of uncertainties and risks that go along with allowing children to use the Internet. The Supreme Court has struck down almost all of the new laws concerning regulation of the Internet on the grounds that they violate the first amendment.
The first amendment says that the citizens should be exposed to a diversity of views, whether they want to or not (Topaz A2). The CDA was struck down because it was a clear violation of free speech. All of the proposals do protect children, but trample on the rights of adults to communicate with each other freely. The Supreme Court ruled that the new technology "..would receive the highest level of protection. Internet speakers will not be shackled with the regulations that limit content on television and radio; instead, they will enjoy the freedom granted to printed matter.
And it will be up to the parents, not the government, to keep kids from accessing smut (Miller and Mauro 84)." Newt Gingrich has spoken out against the Exon amendment saying that it has no real impact because it is in violation of the first amendment for restricting the rights of adults (Rosen 17). When congress tried to pass a law making it a crime to let make indecent material be available to children on the Internet, Justice Paul Stevens wrote, "It is true that we have repeatedly recognized the governmental interest in protecting children from harmful materials. But that interest does not justify an unnecessarily broad suppression of speech addressed to adults (Tipton 12)." So far they have not figured out a way to be able to regulate cyberporn and the Internet with out violating the constitution. If the government had successfully regulated cyberporn, there is no telling where the censorship would stop. Government tried to regulate adult-oriented words with the CDA. This would mean that topics such as safe sex could not be discussed over the Internet. This is not protecting children, but depriving them of material that could be very useful and valuable (Bray C7). Many of the proposals would have outlawed information including AIDS, Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, museum exhibits and, the Vanity Fair cover showing a picture of pregnant Demi Moore (Levy 20).
Another reason they should not regulate cyberporn is the overwhelming number of volunteering business people making millions of dollars. Many of strippers have decided to stop working at strip joints and start their own web sites because of the safety it offers. Right now the Cyberporn business is in demand, so why not give the people what they want? Some customers spend anywhere from $150 to $6,000 a month just to interact on videophone sex web sites (Rafter A1). Cyberporn has opened up a whole new job rhelm, in which ...
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