Child Pornography on the Internet
the last few years, the Internet and its usage have grown dramatically.
This has afforded us access to a tremendous quantity of resources
previously unheard of. It
also allows us the ability to easily communicate with people from all
over the world. This can
offer wonderful opportunities to our young people, but it also opens a
whole new area of dangers to them as well.
One of these dangers lies in the area of child pornography.
Computer telecommunications have become one of the most prevalent
ways for those interested in this particular crime to communicate with
each other and dramatically increased their ability to access the very
population they wish to victimize.
the United States and the rest of the international community have
enacted laws outlawing child pornography and sought to work together to
bring these criminals to justice, the very existence of the Internet has
brought a whole new set of problems to our lawmakers and enforcers.
It also has created a new set of problems for parents and
is imperative that educators familiarize themselves with the issues
associated with pornography, understand the possible implications for
their students, steps to take to help protect their students from
exposure, and know what steps they can take toward prevention.
of all, it’s important to face that fact that the only way child
pornography can be produced is to molest a child.
Now although this used to always be true, more and more often,
there is also the issue of computer-generated or “morphed” photos.
This issue came before the Supreme Court in spring of 2002 and
will be discussed in the legal section of this paper.
Secondly, the next issue that must dealt with when trying to
educate oneself about child pornography is how it is used and is ties to
pedophilia. It is, in a
way, self-propagating. Pornographers,
who are often pedophiles, show their work to children in order to lower
their inhibitions and to demonstrate what they want them to do.
It can also be used to blackmail the child into continuing the
behaviors to pornographers want to see.
order to understand the enormity of the problem, one first must look at
some recent statistics:
Given these current statistics, it is impossible not to see the enormity of this growing problem. As with all societal problems, this one too, seeps into the classroom. It can come in the form of inadvertently accessed sites while researching. It can come in the form of deliberately sought sites by a mischievous, misguided youngster. It can come in the form of a child that has disappeared. It can come in the form of a troubled child who suffers from unknown insecurities. As educators, we must be aware of these societal issues that can affect our students and learn ways to deal with them.
with all problems, the first thing that we, as educators, must have is
awareness of the problem. We
need to know it exists and what causes children to fall into its grasp.
For some of these children, it is simply a strong desire for
approval and love. Children
with poor self-images are easy prey.
As educators, we can play a positive role in the lives of needy
children and help them view themselves in a different light.
need to educate themselves so that they may teach students about the
Internet, and about the fact that there are things on the Internet just
like there are in real life that are not good for them. We talk about
stranger safety to young children and that needs to be expanded to the
Internet. They feel a
misguided sense of anonymity on the Internet that truly isn’t there.
They are not at all difficult for predators to track and this
needs to shown to them. The
majority of inappropriate sites accessed are accessed at home before
parents come home, in the privacy of their own rooms, and at the public
libraries. This is why it
is so important that safety issues covered at schools are expanded to
cover the Internet.
with any issue of child abuse or child exploitation, educators are
mandated court reporters, and this applies to child pornography sites
and any unknown people contacting children through school connections.
the main sites for reporting were listed in the first edition of this
report, they need to be repeated and be as available to educators as
possible. Also keep in mind
that you can contact the FBI at your local field office, which can be
Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- Please include as much information as possible about the
persons and sites involved if known, to include URL addresses, their
E-mail addresses, FTP site, and any other helpful information.
you can call 1-800-THE-LOST
Child Pornography Investigation and Coordination Center - For
complaints regarding websites, individuals, servers, or chat rooms
trafficking in suspected Child Pornography please forward all
correspondence to the International Child Pornography Investigation and
laws have been passed over the years as the Internet became a relevant
part of out society. To understand legal implications, it is
important to have an overview of the laws over time that affect the
issues of child pornography. The
first law mentioning computers was passed in 1977.
- The Child Protection Act of 1984 (18 U.S.C.
2251-2255) defines anyone younger than the age of 18 as a child.
a sexually explicit photograph of anyone 17 years of age or younger is
1986 - Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act (18 U.S.C. 2251-2256) On November 7, 1986, the U.S. Congress enacted the Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act that banned the production and use of advertisements for child pornography and included a provision for civil remedies of personal injuries suffered by a minor who is a victim. It also raised the minimum sentences for repeat offenders from imprisonment of not less than two years to imprisonment of not less than five years.
- Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act (18
U.S.C. 2251-2256) On November 18, 1988, the U.S. Congress enacted the
Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act that
made it unlawful to use a computer to transmit advertisements for or
visual depictions of child pornography and it prohibited the buying,
selling, or otherwise obtaining temporary custody or control of children
for the purpose of producing child pornography.
1990 – Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors (18 U.S.C. 2252 ) On November 29, 1990, the U.S. Congress enacted a law it a federal crime to possess three or more depictions of child pornography that were mailed or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce or that were produced using materials that were mailed or shipped by any means, including by computer.
1996 - Telecommunications Act (18 U.S.C. 2422) With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it is a federal crime for anyone using the mail, interstate or foreign commerce, to persuade, induce, or entice any individual younger than the age of 18 to engage in any sexual act for which the person may be criminally prosecuted.
1996 - The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 amends the definition of child pornography to include that which actually depicts the sexual conduct of real minor children and that which appears to be a depiction of a minor engaging in sexual conduct. Computer, photographic, and photocopy technology is amazingly competent at creating and altering images that have been “morphed” to look like children even though those photographed may have actually been adults. People who alter pornographic images to look like children can now be prosecuted under the law.
1998 – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 - The statute and rule apply to commercial Web sites and online services directed to, or that knowingly collect information from, children under 13. To inform parents of their information practices, these sites will be required to provide notice on the site and to parents about their policies with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of children's personal information. With certain statutory exceptions, sites will also have to obtain "verifiable parental consent" before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from children. The rule became effective on April 21, 2000, but has been challenged by the ACLU as being too broad.
( From New
Rule Will Protect Privacy of Children Online -
- Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 -
CIPA requires that public schools and libraries receiving federal e-rate
funds must use of portion of those funds to filter their Internet
access. They must
filter out obscenity on terminals used by adults and both obscenity and
materials considered to be
harmful to minors on terminals used by minors.
A suit has been filed by the American Library Association In
Pennsylvania charging that this law violates their patrons First
A suit has been filed by the American Library Association In Pennsylvania charging that this law violates their patrons First Amendment rights.
Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 – April 16, 2002 - The
Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, has overthrown this law that banned
virtual “morphed” images of child pornography on the grounds that it
was “unconstitutionally vague and far-reaching” and
infringed on established protections of material with artistic value
that does not violate community standards. It violates the First
Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.
This decision is considered to be major setback for the Justice
Department and Congress in their legislative efforts to fight child
referred to several occurrences in which teenage sex was portrayed, such
as William Shakespeare's play "Romeo & Juliet," and the
movies "Traffic" and "American Beauty."
In a separate
dissent, Rehnquist, who was backed by Scalia and O’Connor, clearly
disagreed with the majority, saying "the computer-generated images
are virtually indistinguishable from real children."
The ruling was
in the case named Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition. The Free Speech
Coalition consists of
predominantly publishers of pornographic materials.
clearly disappointed by the court's decision and said, "This
morning the United States Supreme Court made our ability to prosecute
those who produce and possess child pornography immeasurably more
difficult." He proclaimed that the Justice Department would use
every resource to prosecute child pornography cases and said child
pornographers "will find little refuge in today's decision."
He said he will be working with Congress to pass new laws that would endure the court's inspection. Ashcroft stated, "I believe today's opinion and the Constitution leave open legislative avenues to protect our children from harm and we will seek to develop the means to do so with legislative endeavor."
25 – The House voted 413 to 8 to pass a bill that restricts
computer generated sex images of minors.
A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate and has
enthusiastic bi-partisan support. This
bill will include relatively minor changes to CPPA.
Ashcroft said that the new bill “will strengthen the ability of
law enforcement to protect
children from abuse and exploitation.”
those who crafted the new law say they were careful in order to
pass the Court’s scrutiny. But
comments from those who specialize in First Amendment Law have not been
positive, so it remains to be seen if this new proposal will hold.
– Children’s Online Protection Act of 1998
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) led the challenge of COPA.
In May, the Justices voted 8-1 to send the case back for
reconsideration by the lower court that struck down the law. The high
court did not lift an injunction preventing enforcement of the law,
meaning that the government still cannot block content it deems harm
ful to minors.
2002 - Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 - June 18, 2002 -The three-judge panel in Pennsylvania held that "we are constrained to conclude that the library plaintiffs must prevail in their contention that CIPA requires them to violate the First Amendment rights of their patrons, and accordingly is facially invalid"; the three-judge panel sitting in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled Sections 1712(a)(2) and 1721(b) of the Children's Internet Protection Act to be facially invalid under the First Amendment and permanently enjoined the government from enforcing those provisions. June 20, 2002 - The Justice Department, acting on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, formally notified the Supreme Court on June 20 that it would appeal this ruling. (From ALA's CIPA Website http://www.ala.org/cipa/ )
seems the issue with these challenges is determining what is acceptable
to communities, and the Supreme Court feels that what is acceptable in
one community may not be acceptable to another.
In the meantime, children are still at great risk for exposure to
child pornography, which appears to have no viable usage other than to
those who would choose to use it to hurt children while hiding behind
the First Amendment. To
educators, this means that we will have to continue to be vigilant in
our protection of our students and that we need to continue to educate
them about the dangers that exist in the Internet.
|Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)|
advice should I offer a parent who is concerned about the time their
child spends on the Internet?
the inappropriate material is viewed at home before parents return home
from work and at the public library.
Talk to your child about how to handle these situations and be
sure to monitor the sites they go to on the Internet.
If you aren’t sure how to this, check
CyberCop's Guide to Internet Child Safety at
your child know that you will be monitoring them and then follow
through. If you are worried
about the time they spend on the Internet, place the computer in the
family room or kitchen.
can I do to help with the fight against child pornography?
an educator, what can I do besides monitoring students on the Internet
and working to educate them about the dangers on the Internet?
|Annotated Web Site Directory|
a site that can educate kids, parents and educators about safe ways to
use the Internet and is produced by the Internet Safety Council as a
public service. The host committee of the group is consists of AOL Time
Warner, AT&T, Microsoft, BellSouth, WorldCom, And Verizon. There are
sections for kids, for education on using the Internet, and for
Cybercop’s Guide to Internet Child Safety
This is a rather sizable free downloadable book that has a myriad of
information for those educators and parents who need information about
how things work. It covers
everything from newsgroups and chat software to unsolicited emails.
It was written by a police detective who’s sister was kidnapped
and killed when he was 15. He
later became a detective and has received training from many of the
major computer companies. Detective
Kinkhart is currently assigned to the High Tech Computer Crime Unit and
spends his time investigating Internet related crimes
– This is a good site to show kids how to be careful when conversing
on the Internet. The
purpose of the site is “to
raise awareness among children and
about the potential dangers of unmoderated Internet chat rooms, and to
seek to put pressur
Porn Organization (ACPO)
organization, comprised of volunteers from all around the world, whose
mission is to stop the sexual exploitation of the world's children. For
the past two years ACPO
has been addressing the issues of Child Pornography production and
distribution via the Internet, as well as the predatory use of the
Internet for the sexual abuse of children.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Parent Guide for Internet Safety –
document explains such things as signs of
a child being at risk for Online predators, explains how to
handle these situations as well a preventative measures to take.
02 August 2002
to Educator's Guide to Computer Crime and Technology Misuse
Developed 29 July 2002