Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet

By Philip Jenkins | Go to book overview

TWO
Child Pornography

Where were most of you twenty years ago? It was an excit-
ing time online.

—Kindred, Maestro board, March 18, 2000

For most observers, child pornography is not only repulsive but genuinely baffling, which may explain the reluctance to believe it is so widespread on the Internet, except as a kind of sick joke. Surely so many people cannot be so very disturbed as this phenomenon would suggest? In fact, there is abundant evidence of adults being sexually interested in, even obsessed with, children, which accounts for an enduring market in pornographic materials. Though far removed from any kind of social mainstream, a sexual interest in children is not confined to a tiny segment of hard-core individuals who are demonized under some such damning label as “perverts” or “pedophiles.” Child pornography has a substantial, if murky, history, and in recent times individuals have always been able to find materials of this kind, often by resorting to creative subterfuges and new technologies. The Internet merely marks the latest phase in this story.


“Barely Legal”

The prohibition on sex between adults and minors is neither absolute nor universal. A basic biological instinct mandates the protection of the young, which explains the common taboo against intercourse with very small children. Having said this, many societies both past and present are

-25-

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Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Note on Usage ix
  • Glossary xi
  • One - Out of Control? 1
  • Two - Child Pornography 25
  • Three - Into the Net 52
  • Four - A Society of Deviants 88
  • Five - Moralities 115
  • Six - Policing the Net 142
  • Seven - Vigilantes and Militias 165
  • Eight - A Global Community 184
  • Nine - Where Next? 204
  • Abbreviations 225
  • Notes 227
  • Index 255
  • About the Author 260
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