Social & Domestic Issues

Road to Perversion Is Paved With Porn

Part III: Pornographers pursue profits and kids become sexually abused and abusers

Guess who’s "talking to the kids" on MySpace.com?

Eon McKai produces "alt-porn," and represents one of the biggest porn companies, VCA, now owned by Hustler. McKai says he is talking to the kids and urges the "mainstream industry" to do the same. "Since watching Suicide Girls [the popular alt-chick Web site] grow, I try and promote my product in the same way," says McKai, who is also promoted by his company, VCA. "One of the first things I did was create a MySpace profile and start talking to the kids, I just open that channel. We sent buttons to people, IM’d people, flirted with girls." [1]

I joined MySpace on April 24 by submitting a birth date for an adult, but I could have been 10 years old. I found McKai’s space and his invitation:

Who I’d like to meet: Cool kids that are open minded and like porn and want to be apart of my movement to make it better… If you want to be a porn star… I’m the guy that can make that happen for real… but I’ll look you in the eye first to make sure you can hang…any Emo, Punk or Goth kids… your all my friends… be stylish and cute as all h***. [2]

McKai "warns" that only those over the age of 18 should talk to him. But nothing prevents kids from sending him messages, seeing porn ads, hard-core photos and reading obscene messages. A kid can let McKai know, if "you wanna be in some smut," by clicking "Let me know." That leads to McKai’s response sans ellipses:

So you think you’re a sl**? Tell me about it girl friend. Well it’s not as easy as it looks kid. If you think you have what it takes. Send me pic and a one sentence assay [sic] about why you can do this. Boys can only apply with a girl, as much as I love getting your **** shots in my email. I need a girl to go with that mighty sword of yours. You can link to a pic in the forms below or email me at **************** Your Friend Eon. [3]

I decided to "ask Eon" what’s up with promoting porn on a Web site that’s open to kids. As yet, he hasn’t gotten back to me.

If you’re a parent with a child online and don’t know about MySpace, you should:

Popular online social networking hub MySpace.com on Monday said it will begin displaying public service ads aimed at educating its users, many of them teens, about the dangers posed by sexual predators on the Internet. MySpace, a division of NewsCorp., enables computer users to meet any of more than 60 million members. … The campaign warns parents and teens that sexual predators are increasingly using the veil of anonymity provided by online chat rooms, forums and social networking sites to target minors. … Some 78 percent of users on MySpace are 18 years old or older, the company said. Children younger than 14 aren’t allowed on MySpace and 14-year-olds are allowed only restricted access. … Still, children regularly lie about their age to get around those restrictions. Last month, two men were arrested in what prosecutors said were the first federal sex charges involving MySpace. Two Connecticut girls involved in that case were 11 and 14, the FBI said. [4] [Emphasis added.]

“Now, any kid can go online and find women and men having sex with animals, they can find torture, they can find simulated rape, they can certainly find any kind of oral, anal, vaginal sex, group sex, gay sex. … Many sites offer an alphabetical list of fetishes to click on.” [5]

Carleton Kendrick, a Boston-area family therapist, has counseled many males he considers addicted to porn. “‘The youngest was 10,’ he says. ‘If you’re going on these sites every day, it’s going to become part of your sexual DNA and your emotional DNA and your attitude toward women.’ He says marriages have broken up because of husbands’ obsessions with porn. ‘Pornography changes boys’ expectations of real girls, and that by default changes reality for the girls. What bothers me is that the girls aren’t outraged by it.’” [6]

Any computer-savvy child with access to the Internet can see millions of pages of hard-core pornography. All that stands between them and depravity is a “warning” that is nothing more than an attractive nuisance:

This site contains explicit sexual content intended only for adults over the age of 18. If you are under the age of 18 or do not want to view sexual content, do not click the enter button. Exit by clicking the back button of your browser or click the exit button. If you wish to view material of a sexual nature click enter.

And it isn’t just boys who are confronted with porn on the Internet:

Additionally, girls are bombarded with online porn that they frequently describe as "sickening," "morally wrong," and "not my thing." They receive spam e-mails with porn links and often accidentally go to porn sites when looking for "legitimate" teen sites. When asked how they felt when they accidentally brought up porn sites, girls responded: "It was like a car crash. You want to look away but can’t." [7]

And if allowing their porn sites to be viewable by kids isn’t bad enough, pornographers were caught targeting kids looking for their favorite toy’s Web site. Just before Christmas 2000, Envisional, a company in the United Kingdom that specializes in searching the Internet for trademark violations, reported that it had found nearly 12,000 examples of well-known toy names buried in the metatags of pornography Web sites, 30 percent of which were hard-core. "The pornographers are believed to be using the toy names to drive traffic to their sites, obtaining more ‘hits’ which in turn enable them to push up their advertising rates," according to The London Financial Times. [8]

John Zuccarini pleaded guilty to violating the Truth in Domain Names Act and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on February 26, 2004. Zuccarini registered thousands of domains that were close misspellings or typos of popular sites such as Cartoon Network or even acquired domains identical to well-known brands such as Hot Wheels to deceive children and direct them to pornographic Web sites.

School kids in eighth and ninth grades in Massachusetts reported finding porn in lots of innocent places:

A middle school boy from a suburb west of Boston was searching for music on the Internet when up popped a porn site. A classmate looking for pictures for a school project Googled “perfect images.” One of the sites offered was nude models. "I went to this site and there were all these hot girls,” he says. A 14-year-old girl was doing a search for information on submarines, and up popped images of people having sex. Indeed, teens say, if you search for cartoon characters online, you can find pictures of them having sex. [9]

Once a child enters the wanton world of online porn, innocence is lost. Kids are pre-groomed for seduction by predators that don’t have to waste time educating and desensitizing them to engage in sex with an adult or commit sex crimes on other kids.

Neither Michael Honnold nor his parents imagined that once he unlocked their suitcase full of pornography as a young boy, the end of the road would be a federal prison.

Honnold, now 34, holds a master’s degree in music and was band director at his high school alma mater. He has a failed marriage and a 2-year-old son. Before sentencing him to five years in federal prison, the judge heard Honnold tell how "he developed an addiction for pornography, first adult and then of minors, and that his addiction was a factor in his now-failed marriage." [10]

From a young age I had access to pornography. My parents had a suitcase locked away with pornography in it. My brother and I found the key and I would frequently get it unbeknownst to my parents. This coupled with my curiosity about girls was the impetus for my porn addiction. In college I continued to purchase porn but it wasn’t until the [I]nternet that I really developed an insatiable appetite for it. It was so easy to get. Instant messenger perpetuated it. I found others who loved porn and would steer me towards various sites. I would look up any type of porn I could think of. I found myself wanting more original/amateur and unique pics and videos. It wasn’t till someone sent me a child pornography picture that I gained a curiosity for it. It spiraled out of hand as I found it so easy to obtain. I tried numerous times to delete all porn and not look but I always went back. I spent hours upon hours looking and talking online and had even skipped classes or gone in late to work because of it. I couldn’t stop. [11]

Police and prosecutors in Denver say Reed Senterfit, a middle-school teacher, endeared himself to children only to exploit them. Investigators found that Senterfit had set up hidden cameras in the bathrooms, plied school-aged boys with pornography and then videotaped them "as they touched themselves." Senterfit pleaded guilty to five felony counts of exploiting children. [12]

"Sex therapist Doug Weiss said he’s treating more and more kids as young as nine who are addicted. ‘Their total sexuality is connected to it and their need for a real person is really limited,’ said Weiss." [13]

Juvenile sex offenders are heavy users of "adult" pornography, according to the Department of Justice:

Investigations into the role of pornography in juvenile sex offending are limited in number. One study (Becker and Stein, as cited in Hunter and Becker, 1994) found that only 11 percent of the juvenile sex offenders studied said they did not use sexually explicit materials. Another study (Wieckowski et al., 1998) found that exposure to pornographic material at a young age was common in a sample of 30 male juveniles who had committed sex offenses. A comparative study (Ford and Linney, as cited in Becker and Hunter, 1997) found that 42 percent of juvenile sex offenders, compared with 29 percent of juvenile violent offenders (whose offenses were nonsexual) and status offenders, had been exposed to hardcore, sexually explicit magazines. [14]

A football-loving 14-year-old with quiet parents, "driven on by exposure to hardcore pornography," raped four primary school girls in a park in Salford, England. The boy, now 15, pleaded guilty to four charges of rape on March 23, 2006. The forensic psychiatrist who examined the teenager said that the violent sexual images he had seen inspired him to carry out the offenses. David Steer, counsel for the boy, said: "He had been exposed to extreme and crude pornographic material at the time of these offenses." Susan Bailey, professor of Child and Adolescent Forensic Mental Health at the University of Central Lancashire, said: "The work I have done on children who have killed, committed sexual offenses or other crimes suggests that exposure to pornography is a factor. It is certainly well-documented in the literature." [15]

Details of an alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old by eight adolescent boys in Lyon, France, emerged the day after the publication of a government-sponsored survey estimating that nearly half of France’s children had seen an adults-only sex film by the time they were 11. Claude Rozier, who headed the survey, said: "Hardcore porn has become the principal vehicle for quite young children’s understanding of everything to do with love and sexuality, sometimes their only point of reference." It found that 89 percent of boys aged 16 or 17 had seen one or more porn films, for girls, the figure was 81 percent. [16]

A Canberra, Australia, health unit for abused and abusive children has recorded a significant rise in the number of children aged younger than 10 who are committing sexual offenses, including "oral sex and forced intercourse against other children." Dr. Janet Stanley, a child protection expert in the unit, said, "We’re suggesting there’s an association between the children’s exposure to inappropriate material on the Internet … and their acting out in sexually aggressive behavior, experimenting and modeling what they’re seeing." [17]

Of the 101 sexually abusive children seen over the past three years at a Canberra hospital, almost all had access to the Internet, and 90 percent admitted having seen sexually explicit material online, the report said. A full one-quarter deliberately sought out pornography online as their main use of the Internet, while about 40 percent said they used the Internet for other purposes as well as accessing porn. Twenty-five percent of the 101 children said someone else — usually an older sibling or an older child or adolescent — had shown them how to access pornographic images, sometimes exposing them to it against their will. [18]

Police wondered where two girls, ages 11 and 12, who had posted photos of themselves nude on the Internet, got the idea. They said they were influenced by pornography on the Internet. Photos of the girls were downloaded and distributed at their school. [19]

Police say a 13-year-old boy was charged with abducting an exotic dancer when she allegedly showed up for an appointment at what turned out to be a vacant house in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Police said that when the woman entered the house, she realized her client was a juvenile and tried to leave. But the boy pointed a shotgun at her and ordered her to dance for him. [20]

A 13-year-old boy in Tumwater, Washington, who allegedly loaded an Internet chat room with pornographic images, including photos of himself, was released to his parents while his case is pending. Police identified the boy after investigating who placed the 180 images intercepted by an Internet service provider. [21]

State police charged a 15-year-old Latrobe, Pennsylvania, girl with child pornography. The girl allegedly photographed herself in various states of undress and performed a variety of sexual acts. She then sent the photos to people she met in chat rooms. [22]

Deputies arrested a 16-year-old Woodlands Academy student Friday after the boy allegedly accessed an obscene Internet site from a school computer and showed images to a classmate, according to a St. Lucie County, Florida, sheriff’s report. The boy was taken to the St. Lucie County jail and released to his parents after being charged with showing obscene material to a minor. [23]

Three high school students, ages 14 to 19, posing as adult video producers, were charged in November 2002 as adults in the brutal sexual assault of an adult entertainer. Officer Derek Baliles of the Bethesda, Maryland, Police Department said the teenagers contacted the "adult entertainer" through an Internet ad to offer her employment. When the woman walked into the house, the three hit her in the head with a bat, took her cell phone and keys, and threatened her with a knife. They then ordered her to undress and assaulted her sexually with the bat and another object, authorities said. [24]

Four high school boys in Boca Raton, Florida, ages 15 to 17, are facing charges of lewd and lascivious battery and sexual performance by a child based on allegations that they videotaped themselves having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Police said the boys wrote up a contract for the girl that included plans to charge other students to view the tape on a home computer, and encouraged her to submit the tape to a porn company for a contest. [25]

Free porn leads to cashing in on the youth market. An insider advises the porn industry to "hook" the 18- to 25-year-old youth market with free access to "gonzo" porn — wall-to-wall sex acts with no plot to get in the way. "Every gonzo line should have a Web site," states Rob Rotten, 24-year-old freelance porn actor/director, "and don’t make it a pay site, just make it a place where you can buy DVDs." [26]

The next step is making porn stars from the youth market. "Young people’s attitudes towards sex and towards being in videos have definitely changed in the last 10 years," according to Jennie Grant, co-owner of Shane’s World, a porn company built around "informal gonzo sex romps that take place in habitats natural to the college set." Grant says, "Ten years ago, the amount of girls that considered themselves bisexual was far smaller than it is now. If you go to colleges, it’s no big deal to be having sex with your best friend." [27] The Grants make "excursions to actual college campuses, where actual college students get to couple with actual porn stars." [28]

Always the first to exploit new technology, the porn industry has big plans for distributing smut via cell phones, iPods and MP3 players — all popular with the youngsters who are technologically advanced beyond most parents. Parents need to be ever vigilant to protect their children from exploitation.

Click here for CWA’s tips for parents to protect children from exposure to Internet porn.

Parents needing help with children who’ve become dependent upon pornography can find good advice from Rob Jackson, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.H.C., N.C.C., a Christian counselor and expert on porn and sex addictions.

Read part I and part II of this series:

 



1. Peter Stokes, "We Want Our Porn and We Want It Now! The Youth Market: Who is it, Why is it, and What Does it Mean for Retailers," Adult Video News, November 2005.

2. www.myspace.com/1181034.

3. Ibid.

4. Alex Veiga, "MySpace.com to Post Ads Promoting Safety," Associated Press, April 10, 2006, available at: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/internetprivacy/2006-04-10-myspace-safety_x.htm.

5. Bella English, "The Secret Life of Boys," Boston Globe, May 12, 2005, available at: http://www.boston.com/ae/media/articles/2005/05/12/the_secret_life_of_boys/.

6. Ibid.

7. "The Net Effect: Girls and New Media," Girl Scout Research Institute, available here.

8. Fiona Harvey, "Porn Sites Use Toy Brands to Attract Children," London Financial Times, November 16, 2000, p. 17.

9. "The Secret Life of Boys."

10. U.S. v. Honnold, No. 5:05 CR 0492, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7025, at *1 (N.D. Ohio, Feb. 23, 2006).

11. Ibid.

12. "Teacher Convicted of Sexually Exploiting Kids May Walk," TheDenverChannel.com, November 8, 2005, available at: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/7newsinvestigates/5282772/detail.html.

13. Lynn Sherr, "Shadowy Addiction: Cyberporn Is Having Damaging Effects on Users Who Can’t Stop Clicking," ABCNEWS.com, August 27, 2004.

14. "Juveniles Who Have Sexually Offended," Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001, available at: http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/report_juvsex_offend/sum.html.

15. Russell Jenkins, "Violent Pornography Blamed for Turning Boy Aged 14 into a Rapist," The London Times, March 24, 2006, available at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,200-2101204,00.html.

16. "Pornography Forms French Children’s Views onSsex: An Alleged Teenage Gang Rape ‘Like Some Kind of Virtual Game’ Underlines Survey’s Fears," The Guardian (London), May 25, 2002, p. 16.

17. Patrick Goodenough, "Online Porn Driving Sexually Aggressive Children," CNSNews.com, November 26, 2003, available at: http://www.cnsnews.com/ForeignBureaus/Archive/200311/FOR20031126a.html.

18. Ibid.

19. Ed Hayward, "Girls, 11 and 12, Post Nude Photos on Net," The Boston Herald, January 17, 2002, 012.

20. "Thirteen-year-old Boy Charged With Abducting Exotic Dancer," NewsChannel 8.com, November 23, 2004, available at: http://www.news8.net/news/stories/1104/189734.html.

21. Scott Gutierrez, "Porn Defendant Released to Parents," The Olympian, October 15, 2004, available at: http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20041016/topstories/15961.shtmlhild porn defendant released to parents.

22. "Teen Who Posted Own Photo Charged With Child Porn," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 29, 2004, available at: http://www.postgazette.com/breaking/20040329pornp6.asp.

23. The Palm Beach Post (Martin-St. Lucie edition), February 15, 2001, p. 2B.

24. "Two Teens in Sex Assault Case Released on Bond," available at: http://www.nbc4.com/news/1792417/detail.html.

25. Jon Burstein, "Teenager Jailed in Porn Tape Case; Video Brings Student Adult Felony Charge," Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale, Florida], February 3, 2002, 1B.

26. Peter Stokes, "We Want Our Porn and We Want It Now! The Youth Market: Who Is It, Why Is It, and What Does It Mean for Retailers?" Adult Video News, November 2005.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.


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