Cyber porno has already become an industry and is in rapid expansion mode with huge sums involved in the field. Subscription services have come up, charging a fee to deliver access to large sites along with hundreds of small affiliate sites, generating a lot of revenues. Free contents are posted frequently in an effort to entice surfers to visit repeatedly, to sign up and gain instant access. Contents are generated and distributed elsewhere but empirical evidence is that the users’ market is rapidly growing here in our society.
The happening is not new, of course. It has been there in some form or the other. But what is unprecedented in the age of personal computers and the Internet is this: the mass consumption of cyber porno moving way beyond the pathetic stereotypes into the potent mainstream, the use of the Internet to rummage the smut, assault of covert and overt signals from different web sources and exposure to inappropriate sexual themes.
With some odd exceptions, the viewing of naked images is sinful in most religions. Different schools of thoughts and cultures also consider it at least objectionable, an idea of the Internet as a tool of free speech and issues of civil rights and liberties notwithstanding. Besides being degrading to humanity, “the act (of viewing porno) is harmful physically as well as mentally,” says Dr. Irfan Chaudhry.
One aspect that caught the world attention first is that children, who cannot distinguish what is right from what is wrong, might fall easy prey, hence they should be protected. It is one of the few areas which have been subject to law enforcement activities in many countries.
There have been measures aimed to restrict this happening, but the material remains widely available, much of it for free. That led to increasing demand for software products by concerned parents who are in the know of the matter, which could filter Web pages. A number of software developers have made big profits by selling filtering programs though nothing seems to be working.
Web filtering software is far from perfect. Some block many innocent sites along with the objectionable sites rendering the Internet experience as discouraging. “There is no demand for porno blocking software,” says an IT graduate and software vendor Azmat Hayat in Lahore. Another reason that efforts at restricting the viewing of pornography over the Internet have been largely ineffective is because of the high demand, which make restricting very difficult if not impossible.
Viewing pornography is a clear violation of the divine directives and suggested way of life in the first place. It reinforces sinful feelings. Scientific research even in more liberal societies has shown the profound effects pornography can have on human behaviour: thoughts, speech, desires, expectations, actions, habits, and lifestyle. It has been established beyond doubt that looking at pornography causes one to lust and leads to a desire to commit adultery. Continuous viewing of pornography over period leads to destructive addiction with seismic results. Even innocent users can have profound effects when by chance come to know of the seedier side of the Internet.