New Third Way Report Finds Children Are Major Users Of Internet Pornography; Porn Sites Target Kids
Washington — In a new report released today, Third Way found that the Internet is awash in a growing ocean of pornographic material that often targets children, and that the average age of a child’s first exposure to online porn is now just 11 years old. The report helped generate new legislation, to be introduced this morning by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and several others, that would impose strict age-verification requirements for Internet porn and a “smut tax” — a federal excise tax of 25 percent — that would require purveyors of online porn to pay the costs of protecting children online.
The principle author of the report, Third Way Senior Policy Advisor Sean Barney, said: ”Internet pornographers are being totally irresponsible. Today’s technology gives them the ability today to keep children off their sites, and they just aren’t doing it. While it is as difficult as ever for a teenager to walk into a store and buy a pornographic magazine, it is as easy as ‘point-and-click’ for an 11-year-old child to view streaming pornographic video online.”
The Third Way report made a number of findings, including:
- Online pornography is proliferating online at an alarming rate — from 14 million web pages in 1998 to 420 million today.
- Online porn is big business. Its $12 billion in annual revenues equals that of the three major television networks combined.
- Despite the availability of foolproof age verification systems, children have easy access to pornography online.
- 97% of Internet pornography sites now run basically on an honor system — if a child simply asserts that they are over 18, they get access to the sites.
- The largest group of consumers of online pornography is kids ages 12-17.
- The average age at which children are first exposed to porn online is 11 years old.
- Elements of the online pornography industry are directly targeting children, using meta-tagging with words like “Santa Claus,” “Disneyland” and “Teletubbies” to draw kids to their websites after searching on those terms.
- Many online pornographers earn money by the page-view, making it highly lucrative to attract all types of viewers, including children.
Barney continued: “Third Way was proud to work with Senator Lincoln on this bill. The evidence is overwhelming: it’s time for Congress to step in to help parents keep their children safe from predatory online pornographers, and it’s time to tax pornographers to pay for the steps that society must take when they pursue quick profits through the promotion of online obscenity.”
- The Porn Standard: Children and Pornography on the Internet
- Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005
Contact: Matt Bennett (202) 775-3768 x212