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DANGER: Unexpected Avenues
to Kids’ Access to Pornography
(2013 Update)

Flashback 1971:  Children’s access to pornography was limited to:

  • Finding a stash of Playboy/Penthouse/Hustler magazines owned by an adult, or
    .
  • Talking the dude at 7-11 into selling you one of the above magazines.

.

Jump to the 21st Century:  Children’s access to pornography now includes:

  • All Internet-connected computers
  • Internet/web-enabled cell phones
  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Tablets and e-readers
  • Gaming systems
  • MP3 Players and iPod-type devices

WHOA!

Wait a minute!!!

  • Gaming systems????
    .
  • MP3 Players and iPod-type devices????

These have beenpornified“????

C’mon! You’re kidding, right?

Nope!

And I wish that I were….

covering_eyes_1Many parents allow children to use new technologies without understanding how the adult entertainment industry is exploiting them.  This includes game systems and media players.

Before we start looking at specific types of systems, let’s look at some general things that parents should consider:

  • By and large, any new type of device, or new generation of an old device, will be exploited by the adult entertainment industry almost upon release.
    .
  • If a device can access the Internet or connect to a computer attached to the Internet, it can be exploited (and probably has)
    .
  • These devices bypass filtering software because they access the Internet either directly or via your home network.

Finally, let’s remember this one crucial thing about pornographers:

Pornographers are the

crack dealers of the soul.

All they care about is

MONEY!

Now that we understand these things, let’s look at these unexpected avenues to pornography:

.

GAME SYSTEM VULNERABILITIES

.

psp-pornSONY PLAYSTATION PORTABLE (PSP)

  • Has WI-FI capability and can connect to and surf the Internet
  • Can surf porn sites designed specifically for viewing on the PSP
  • Can download multi-media porn files directly to the Memory Stick
  • Can play porn files loaded on the Memory Stick from the PC
  • Has very limited parental controls

NOTE: There are numerous web sites that specialize in providing pornography for the PSP and other handheld systems.

.

ps3SONY PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3)

  • Has direct Internet connectivity via your home network
  • Can surf the web
  • Can download files to the hard drive
  • Has limited parental controls
  • Can be used for “cybersex” via webcam and voice communications capabilities.
  • Systems that are not online but are kept in a child’s room can be taken to another room, connected to the Internet, used to download porn, and then be returned to the “safety” of the child’s room.

NOTE: In addition to providing direct access to pornography the PS3 can also be used by predators to stalk potential targets via the game networks.  If your child is playing a stranger they met on a game match site, they really do not know who it is!

.

wiiNINTENDO Wii

  • Has direct Internet connectivity via your home network
  • Can surf the web
  • View files stored on the SD card
  • Has limited parental controls, and no effective ones for ‘Net content.
  • With the upcoming release of a camera for the Wii, there may be the same cybersex vulnerabilities that other systems have.

NOTE:  There are Wii-Friendlyporn sites, too.  Also, while the Wii has not been used as much by predators due to the types of games that are popular on the Wii (local vs. online play) , the increasing number of traditional games (first-person shooters, RPG, etc.) will expand the Wii’s use in traditional online arenas.

.

xbox2X-BOX

  • Historically not a direct porn threat.
  • Like the PS3 it can be used by predators and for cybersex using the camera and voice-link capabilities
  • The Windows 8 release also saw the release of Internet Explorer for X-Box.  This enables access to web porn.
    .

MULTIMEDIA DEVICES

ipod-and-boyIn addition to exploiting game systems the adult entertainment industry rapidly exploits advances in portable multimedia systems.  When the first Photo iPod came out in 2004 it took less than 2 weeks for Playboy to announce the “iBod” products:  Collections of pornographic images from its magazines.   One year later, when the Video iPod launched, the adult entertainment industry adapted in less than a week to offer iPod-compatible porn movies.  As competitors from Microsoft, Creative, and Sansa hit the shelves the porn industry continued to adapt their products and marketing to these new devices.

Also, as pointed out in my earlier post, “PORNOGRAPHY: A SIN?“, there is also “audio porn” in MP3 (and other) formats.  This may be a file containing an erotic story or it may be a “podgasm”, an audio recording of sexual activities.

Many portable media devices now play video files, and that has exploded into a major new segment for the adult entertainment industry.

iPod

iphone_fontviewThe only device of this type, though,  that I want to single out is the Apple iPod product line, to include the iPhone/Touch.

Now, this is NOT because they are “bad” . . . or because I hate them.  Quite the contrary, iPods are AWESOME devices, IMHO.  I own a 30GB 5G iPod as well as an 8GB iPod Touch.  My kids ALL have iPods (that they earned, purchased with gift money, or received as gifts from others).

In fact, watching videos on my iPod Touch makes soccer practice SO MUCH more bearable!!! <grin>

I mention the iPods specifically because of the huge market share that they command, and because of Apple’s efforts to provide controls to help parents.

All content on a non-WIFI enabled iPod must be loaded via iTunes.  This allows you to:

    • Set the parental controls to restrict what music/videos can be purchased and loaded, and
    • It provides an easy way to investigate what is on your child’s iPod.

NOTE: This is more involved than can be covered in a single blog post.  Step-by-step instructions are found in my SEX, KIDS, & THE INTERNET Workbook available here.

Internet capable iPods, such as the iPhone and the iPod Touch, are a different matter.  They can access adult sites directly.  One thing that has been in our favor, though, is that many adult sites use Flash video format and that is not compatible with these devices.  Unfortunately, more and more adult sites are beginning to make their wares usable by iPhones/Touches by transitioning to the MP4/H.264 format used by Apple.

There are a number of parental control programs either in the field or in the pipeline to help parents.  The problem/challenge is that the Apple operating system for portable devices, iOS, makes it cotton-pickin’ difficult to filter browsers!

Also, iDevices have the the ability to directly connect to nearby devices.  This may, or may not, be exploited by predators.  I am not as worried about this potential as this is a short-range capability.

For now, parents need to inspect their children’s iPhones/Touches directly for visits to adult sites and the use of pornography.

.

WHAT TO DO?

With all these new avenues to inappropriate materials, what should a loving and conscientious parent do?

First off, unless you are going to “go Amish” you have to deal with these threats.  How you approach these dangers will not only impact how well protected your children are, but it will impact how well they absorb your example and concern and integrate your standards into their adult lives.

Here are some steps you should take:

  • IMPLEMENT OPENDNS!!!!  This is the first thing you should do.  OpenDNS is what I call the “seatbelt” for the Internet.  You use it.  Period.  Read more about how OpenDNS filters your entire home network…for free…right HERE.
  •  Talk to your kids about the dangers of online pornography and predators.
    .
  • Install filtering software on laptops that get taken out of the house and, if children are 11 and up, monitoring software.  See my post:  So, You Think You Can Trust Your Kids On The Internet? for more information on these.
    fo.
  • Establish rules, boundaries, and penalties in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that address the mis-use of gaming and portable media systems.
    .
  • Set parental controls on any multimedia software such as iTunes.
    .
  • If your children have multimedia- or Internet-capable cell phones, then you should contact your provider to see what options exist to controlling access to inappropriate material.
    .

Parents, ministers, counselors, and others who work with children and youth need to be alert to the use of new technologies to access inappropriate materials.  This will be a constant battle as technologies develop and evolve.

Youth Ministers:  Make sure that any networked game systems in your area, including your 24/7 sites, are not online.  You have no control over who kids may be connecting with and you do NOT want a scandal involving youth in your charge accessing inappropriate content.

Other posts you might find interesting:

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to Kids’ Access to Pornography
(2013 Update)

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