This is a follow-up to my recent article The War on Child Pornogrqaphy–Who are the victims?
Politicians, media and law enforcement have “massively over-responded” to “quite innocuous” adult sexual material on the Internet, argues historian Jenkins, while doing far too little to stamp out pernicious and prevalent child porn, such as pictures of four- and five-year-old girls sexually servicing men. Even anti-porn activists who target specific pedophilic Web sites are wrongheaded; the problem is international, Jenkins charges in this important wake-up call, with pictures posted on short-lived sites known only to a computer-savvy subculture that sidesteps the strictures of countries that condemn the material. Thus, while Jenkins (Synthetic Panics) has spent his career arguing that social menaces (e.g., serial killers) are overblown, here he aims to increase public concern. Given that simply looking at child pornography is illegal, Jenkins was constrained in his research. His ingenious solution was to access the news groups and “pedo boards” where regular users communicated, drawing on their descriptions of the material they consumed, and using a feature on his computer that prevented images from downloading. His reading of the various online discourses suggests that child porn users like some other deviant subgroups share a conventional morality, which suggests that many might be deterred by more effective law enforcement. Currently, policing focuses on child porn users, whom Jenkins likens to drug addicts, without striking against the suppliers at the core of the subculture. Thus, he calls not for increased punishment for users but for a prohibition of newsgroups and bulletin boards. And to increase awareness of the issue, he suggests a journalistic exemption to child porn laws.
“This is a troubling book that exposes how child pornography has found a safe haven on the Internet. Philip Jenkins’s innovative research methods let him explore and map the secret electronic networks that link individuals whose deviance seems not just outrageous, but incomprehensible. Jenkins shows how culture and social structure emerge in a virtual-and decidedly not virtuous-world. This book raises profound questions about the nature of deviance in an electronic future.” -Joel Best, University of Delaware
You can read more about Crimes Against Children on the Internet at Watch Right Internet Crimes Against Children Weblog
Teachers, parents and law enforcement agencies can get a free syndicated news feed for their Home Pages at Watch Right Internet Crimes Against Children Syndicated Feed
About the Author
Robert T DeMarco is CEO of IP Group in Herndon VA. IP Group offers software communication tools for use on the Internet. These include: PowerTools, Watch Right, Always on Time and IM Frame. Mr. DeMarco is the author/editor of several Weblogs and is also a member of the High Tech Crimes Industry Association (HTCIA). Mr. DeMarco spent 20 years on Wall Street during his second career.
Robert T DeMarco
IP Group Inc.