National Academies logo
NetSafeKids logo
The Internet Today
Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/ Legal Issues
How Pornography and Predators Reach Kids
How Can I Protect My Child
A Resource For Parents home Site Map

Web Sites and Web Pages
Chat Rooms
Instant Messages
Usenet Newsgoups
Peer-to-Peer Networks
Search Engines
Internet symbol collage


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., 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 subset—for 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.

back to top