Youth, Pornography, and the Internet

Overview

The Internet has changed the way we access the world. This is especially true for kids, who soak up new technologies like eager little sponges. They have access to an enormous array of material, including educational links, sports info, chat rooms—and, unfortunately, pornography. But we must approach our need to protect children with care to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on the many positive features of the Internet.

Youth, Pornography, and the Internet examines ...

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Overview

The Internet has changed the way we access the world. This is especially true for kids, who soak up new technologies like eager little sponges. They have access to an enormous array of material, including educational links, sports info, chat rooms—and, unfortunately, pornography. But we must approach our need to protect children with care to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on the many positive features of the Internet.

Youth, Pornography, and the Internet examines approaches to protecting children and teens from Internet pornography, threats from sexual predators operating on-line, and other inappropriate material on the Internet. The National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board explores a number of fundamental questions: Who defines what is inappropriate material? Do we control Internet access by a 17-year-old in the same manner as for a 7-year-old? What is the role of technology and policy in solving such a problem in the context of family, community, and society?

The book discusses social and educational strategies, technological tools, and policy options for how to teach children to make safe and appropriate decisions about what they see and experience on the Internet. It includes lessons learned from case studies of community efforts to intervene in kids’ exposure to Internet porn.

Providing a foundation for informed debate, this very timely and relevant book will be a must-read for a variety of audiences.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This report, which is also available online at http://www.nap.edu, summarizes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of a distinguished committee selected by the National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academy of Sciences, in response to Title IX, Section 901 of Public Law 105-314, the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, passed by the United States Congress. Headed by then Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, the NRC group was charged to seek "to frame the problem of [computer transmission of pornographic images] in an appropriate social, legal, educational, technological, and ethical context; present what is and is not scientifically known about the impact on children of exposure to sexually explicit materials; and provide information useful to various decision-making communities about possible courses of action across educational, legislative, law enforcement, and technological fronts." The committee held hearings, called for white papers that are posted on http://www.itasnrc.org, and reviewed other studies. The final report emphasizes approaches to protecting youth from material deemed inappropriate for minors, with no consensus by the committee that inappropriate sexually explicit material is the most important safety issue on the Internet for children. The report is divided into three parts. Part I includes an introduction, chapters on technology that explain cyberspace and the Internet; the adult entertainment industry, with the interesting statistic that 20 to 30 percent of the material on those adult sites goes to children; the legal and regulatory issues surrounding Internet use and regulation, specifically the First Amendment andobscenity legislation plus international dimensions; how children use media and are exposed to sexually explicit material; the research base on the impact of such exposure, and various perspectives on the public debate in the absence of a scientific consensus on impact. Part II discusses various strategies to protect youth from a discussion of "protection itself to educational or technological tools for users and non-end users." Part III summarizes the committee's findings, conclusions, and future needs, which in essence, say that too many competing goals and values inform the debate so that "any 'appropriate' mix of actions should be seen as balancing competing goals and values rather than endorsing he absolute supremacy of any one goal or value." This study is required reading for all youth-serving librarians. Index. Glossary. Appendix. 2002, National Academy Press, 424p, Chelton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780309082747
  • Publisher: National Academies Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 1
1 Introduction 17
1.1 The Internet: Source of Promise, Source of Concern 17
1.2 A Critical Definitional Issue - What Is "Pornography"? 20
1.3 Other Types of Inappropriate Material and Experiences 22
1.4 A Broad Spectrum of Opinion and Views 25
1.5 Focus and Structure of This Report 28
2 Technology 31
2.1 An Orientation to Cyberspace and the Internet 31
2.2 Technologies of Information Retrieval 49
2.3 Technologies Related to Access Control and Policy Enforcement 51
2.4 What the Future May Bring 68
3 The Adult Online Entertainment Industry 71
3.1 The Structure and Scale of the Online Adult Entertainment Industry 72
3.2 The Generation of Revenue 74
3.3 Practices Related to Minors 78
3.4 What the Future May Hold 79
3.5 Industry Structure, Product Differentiation, and Aggressive Promotion 82
4 Legal and Regulatory Issues 84
4.1 The First Amendment 84
4.2 Relevant Statutes and Common Law 96
4.3 Law Enforcement, Training, and Education 112
5 Children, Media, and Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material 115
5.1 Children and How They Use Media 115
5.2 Sexuality in Culture 120
5.3 The Role of Media in Providing Information on Sexuality to Youth 123
5.4 Dimensions of Exposure and Access to the Internet 127
5.5 Internet Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material, Solicitations, and Harassment 136
6 The Research Base on the Impact of Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material: What Theory and Empirical Studies Offer 143
6.1 Theoretical Considerations 143
6.2 Empirical Work 149
6.3 Factors Affecting the Impact on Minors of Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material 157
7 Beyond the Science: Perspectives on Impact and the Public Debate 161
7.1 Challenges to Parents 161
7.2 Speculations and Other Perspectives on Possible Impact 166
7.3 Rhetorical Concerns and Issues of Public Debate 172
7.4 Judgments in the Absence of a Reliable Research Base 175
7.5 Concluding Observations 178
8 Approaches to Protection from Inappropriate Material 183
8.1 The Identification of Inappropriate Material 183
8.2 Dimensions of "Protection" 188
8.3 The Time Line of Protective Actions 190
8.4 Differing Institutional Missions of Schools and Libraries 191
8.5 The Politics of Protection and Inappropriate Material - Who and When? 192
8.6 Techniques of Protection 194
8.7 Approaches to Protection 196
9 Legal and Regulatory Tools 201
9.1 Vigorous Prosecutions of Obscene Material 201
9.2 Civil Liability for Presenting Obscene Material on the Internet 205
9.3 Options for Dealing with Material That Is Obscene for Minors 205
9.4 Enforcement of Record-Keeping Requirements 213
9.5 Streamlining the Process of Handling Violations 214
9.6 Self-Regulatory Approaches 215
9.7 General Observations 216
10 Social and Educational Strategies to Develop Personal and Community Responsibility 218
10.1 Foundations of Responsible Choice 218
10.2 Definition of a Social or Educational Strategy 221
10.3 Contextual Issues for Social and Educational Strategies 222
10.4 Parental Involvement and Supervision 225
10.5 Peer Assistance 233
10.6 Acceptable Use Policies 235
10.7 After-the-Fact Strategies 240
10.8 Education 242
10.9 Compelling and Safe Content 250
10.10 Public Service Announcements and Media Campaigns 254
10.11 Findings and Observations About Social and Educational Strategies 256
11 A Perspective on Technology-Based Tools 258
11.1 Technology-Based Tools 258
11.2 Contextual Issues for Technology-Based Tools 261
11.3 The Questions to Be Asked of Each Tool 265
12 Technology-Based Tools for Users 267
12.1 Filtering and Content-Limited Access 267
12.2 Monitoring 304
12.3 Tools for Controlling or Limiting "Spam" 317
12.4 Instant Help 322
13 Technology-Based Tools Available to Non-End Users 327
13.1 A .xxx Top-Level Domain 327
13.2 A .kids Top-Level Domain 335
13.3 Age Verification Technologies 339
13.4 Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property 349
14 Findings, Conclusions, and Future Needs 357
14.1 Framing the Issue 357
14.2 On the Impact on Children of Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material and Experiences 362
14.3 On Approaches to Protection 364
14.4 Trade-offs and Complexity 368
14.5 Take-Away Messages for Different Parties 374
14.6 Research Needs 386
14.7 Conclusion 387
App. A Information-Gathering Sessions of the Committee 391
App. B Glossary and Acronyms 407
App. C Selected Technology Issues 418
App. D Site Visit Synthesis 430
App. E: Biographies 434
Index 445
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