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The internet and a lust for profits

Koerner, B.I. (2000, March 27). A lust for profits. U.S. News and World Report, pp. 36-44.

 

OVERVIEW

MY TEENAGER CAN DIAL INTO WHAT...?

Over-the-counter-magazines just became in-your-face internet porn. Watch out men: cyberspace can destroy all of your relationships, one by one. Watch out women: cyberspace has begun to strip you of all dignity.

Two years ago, web surfers spent $970 million accessing adult-content sites. In two years, researchers expect that figure to climb to over $3 billion. Last year, nearly 10 percent of all e-commerce trades were related to cyber-porn. In January 2000, over 17.5 million internet surfers enjoyed e-porn (five million more than in October 1999). PornCity.net, the top X-rated site, attracted more visitors than ESPN.com or barnesandnoble.com. In all, there are least 40,000 sexually-oriented sites on-line. Reseachers at Stanford and Duquesne Universities found over 200,000 Americans addicted to e-porn.

HOW DID SEX GET ENTANGLED IN THE WEB?

Pornography has always adapted to the latest market. Pompeii (Italy) reminds us how early obscene graffiti accompanied the best in art. Books, magazines, comic books and VHS were filled with erotic images nearly as soon as they were invented. Pornographic bulletin board systems went up months after cyberspace opened. In the early 1990s, 80% of all e-traffic was related to adult material.

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Comdex, the world’s largest computer trade show, once hosted sexually explicit internet material. But, in 1995, Comdex feared Bra Busting Babes 2 would tarnish their yearly event and rejected X-rated productions. AdultDex formed soon after, and became known as Internet’s "dirty little secret." By April, soft core stalwart Playboy.com will make its Nasdaq debut.

With Webcams and a little bit of html language, individuals such as Nicki Sacks of Maryland makes several hundred dollars a night from live strip shows in her home. Jon-David Messner lost his job as a cemetery administrator in 1996. Weeks later, he posted nude pictures of his wife on the Internet. Last year his site grossed $3 million.

But it’s not just the dirty organization and housewife stripper, reputable companies might surprise you. America Online, which tries to sustain a family image, continues to contribute 16% of all the Internet’s racy images.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTIONS AND DISCUSSION

    • What about this story surprises you?
    • Think of ten factors that would make internet porn tempting to teenagers.
    • Think of five counter measures to reduce such temptation.
    • Do teenagers in your youth group share their struggles with you? Why or why not?
    • How often do teenagers in your youth group go on-line?
    • How can the internet help your teenagers spiritually?

Ryan Weimer cCYS