The U.S. Constitution and state and federal statutes
and regulations play important roles in addressing the various legal issues
that arise when adults try to protect children from what is considered
inappropriate sexually explicit material or experiences on the Internet.
So Whats Regulated?
Its difficult to wrap a legal arm around the
concept of pornography because the term has no specific
meaning either in everyday conversation or in the eyes of the law.
pornographic for you might not be pornographic for someone else, and
vice versa. Moreover, certain sexually explicit materials are regarded
speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution.
There are, however, three categories of sexually explicit material that
U.S. government can regulate:
Federal and state laws, including laws
that apply to the Internet, are there to deal with child pornography
and obscenity by forbidding the production, distribution, and, in the
case of child pornography, possession of these materials. Anything considered
obscene with respect to minors is regulated for children but not for adults.
- Child pornography,
which involves pictures of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This includes actual or simulated sexual intercourse, bestiality, masturbation,
sadistic or masochistic abuse, and the lascivious exhibition of the
genitals or pubic area of a child.
- Obscenity, which
involves work that, taken as a whole and judged by the current standards
of a community, appeals to an unhealthy interest in sex, depicts sexual
conduct in a patently offensive way, and lacks any serious literary,
artistic, political, or scientific value.
- Obscenity with respect to minors,
which refers to materials that qualify as obscene when children are