Why child pornography is in the virtual world

The primary allure of virtual worlds, and so doubt a large part of their success, derives from the anonymity they afford the people who live there. In the real world people tailor their behavior to what people are actually going to perceive about them. They have to abide by the norms of what society says the way things should be (that includes what jobs are acceptable, what clothes are alright to ware in public). In the virtual world people don’t have to do that because people can make-up what they want people to see. In virtual worlds a person can be a warewolf or a tiger. In real worlds people don’t get to choose the color of their skin or their social status for that matter, but that same thing can’t be said for the people that reside in the virtual worlds. The physical remove of virtual worlds inspires people to speak and move about freely, uninhibited by a fear of real world repercussions. People don’t have to worry about consequences of their actions in virtual worlds because there are no set norms established in virtual worlds. Even if there are norms, they are totally different from what the norms in the real world would entail.

People continue to participate in child pornography because such conduct is hard to track and monitor especially when it is done in virtual worlds. Online sexual expression has taken many forms and continues to evolve in response to technological innovation. The more advanced that technology becomes then the more the sexual expression advances. We have come into the world that has streaming videos, chat rooms, avatars and emails. Technology has come a long way. It is hard to decipher the adult sexually explicit content as opposed to the child content.  The thing that makes it hard to track is the fact that all of this use of technology can be done anonymously which allows people to voice thoughts and feelings, and explore parts of themselves, that real world norms compel them to suppress. People feeling safe to express their feelings that they would not normally express is what leads to the increase in people watching child pornography.

Congress had made many attempts to neutralize the Internet’s influence on the child pornography market. People were not fearful because they thought that they were protected by their personal privacy rights. However, the Court in Osborne made it clear that in a case of child pornography personal rights are outweighed by the states interest in preventing harm to children. Basically, a person found in possession of sexually explicit images of a minor may be subject to criminal charges because the severity of the inherent third party harm outweighs any right the possessor may have to privacy. Child pornography is going to persist because people are going to keep looking at it and others are going to keep making money off of it. The only way to stop the issue of child pornography would be for the government to monitor the use of all computers. That is not going to happen because it is a violation of our constitutional rights. In order to monitor our computers the government would need some form of probable cause, but that means that they can’t just monitor computers with the assumption that anyone could be a child pornography distributor. Basically, Congress has come along way from the beginning of this epidemic, but they still have a ways to come to fix this problem.


~ by demetreastewart on November 5, 2009.

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