Wed 7 Jul 2004
Did you know that “pornography is more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes or illicit drugs?” Or that “one in five children ages 10 to 17 has received sexual solicitations while on the Internet” - and that, by extension, pornography per se is equivalent to pedophilia? Or that “over 80% of Americans are in favor of clamping down on Internet Pornography?” Neither did we. Nor can we find any sources to back up most of the claims made by an alliance of “several U.S. and Canadian organizations” that announced a “War on Pornography” campaign in Utah yesterday.
Alliance forms to declare new War on Pornography
By Mike Cronin
The Salt Lake Tribune
OREM — Amy Hartvigsen of Alpine doesn’t let her young sons watch TV unsupervised anymore. The reality shows that blanket the airwaves might as well be porn, she reasons.
Michael Ashton of Elk Ridge fears that no matter what anyone does, pornographers still will be able to e-mail unsolicited smut to his kids.
To address the growing concern that an unchecked sex industry is damaging children, several U.S. and Canadian organizations are forming an alliance and launching a “War On Pornography.” Officials representing some of those groups staged a news conference Monday afternoon at Orem’s Utah Valley State College to announce the initiative.
The parties are unsure at this point what their effort will entail. But Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, said that extraordinary steps must be taken to stop “an onslaught unlike any other in the history of the world.”
Though the War on Pornography (http://www.waronpornography.com) initiative is new, the concept is not. Member groups already have been fighting it on several fronts.
JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton’s Strengthen the Family has persuaded many Bountiful businesses to conceal sexually oriented magazine covers to ensure children cannot see them.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his staff are developing an online child-protection registry that is scheduled to be up and running next year. Utahns will be able to register for the service, which will place their e-mail addresses on a list that prohibits companies from sending pornographic material.
Wielding a golden sword, Shurtleff warned any violators that his office will prosecute them.
Several officials repeated what became almost a mantra for Monday’s news conference: “Pornography can never be erased from a child’s mind.”
Scott Dow, director of the War on Pornography, recited several statistics that he claims demonstrate the destructiveness of Internet pornography:
* Nine in 10 children ages 8 to 16 have viewed porn online — most of them by accident.
* The average age of first exposure to Web porn is 11.
* Pornography is more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes or illicit drugs.
* Nearly half of all children ages 11 to 17 with an Internet connection surf for porn sites.
* One in 5 children ages 10 to 17 has received sexual solicitations while on the Internet.
* Kids can bypass most blocking software with a single click of the mouse.
Ashton, the Elk Ridge father and a technical manager at a software company, said after the news conference that porn is a well-funded, highly organized industry. He predicted that anti-spamming efforts probably will fail due to the technological sophistication of pornographers.
Even so, Hartvigsen threw her support behind the War on Pornography.
“We don’t do enough to stop pornography,” she said, citing consumer support of sexually graphic R-rated movies as an example. “It comes in all forms, and we just accept it.”
That type of mass acquiescence contributes to the “tremendous necessity for the War on Pornography,” said Alan Keyes, a conservative scholar and former presidential candidate.
“Our understanding of human sexuality has been debased,” he said.
© Copyright 2004, The Salt Lake Tribune.
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