Usenet newsgroups are basically online bulletin boards
where people can post and share anything they want, often anonymously.
Typically, newsgroups form around shared social interests that can cover
conceivably any topic, such as games, sports, culture, science, current
issues, business, literature, or health. Alt.food.chocolate, rec.animals.wildlife,
and sci.geo.meteorology are just three examples of the nearly 30,000 newsgroups
that exist on the Internet.
Internet service providers (ISPs) make choices about what newsgroups
to carry. Some ISPs carry the full line and others carry only a subsetfor
example, all except those devoted to child pornography.
- Not all Usenet newsgroups are suitable for children
of any age. Some newsgroups carry racist or hate-oriented subject matter,
and others contain profanity or lots of flaming, in which
people argue in ways that can involve insulting or profane language.
- Many newsgroups contain sexually explicit material
and some are devoted primarily to such content. Some newsgroups fall
victim to these types of postings even when their names have nothing
to do with anything sexually explicit or sexual. Much of this content
is often more extreme than that found on adult-oriented Web sites.
- Sexually explicit newsgroups can also serve as
conduits for advertising adult-oriented Web sites and as environments
within which sexually explicit content can be exchanged among users.