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?
Resources/Glossary/Contact UsUs
A Resource For Parents home National Academies Site Map
Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/Legal Issues

ppnav_subwhere_arrow1_blank What is Pornography
ppnav_subwhere_arrow2 Where Does Pornography Come From?
Non-commercial Pornography
ppnav_subwhere_arrow3_blank Sexual Predators: Know the Enemy
Legal Issues

Pornography and Predator - hand on key board


THE ADULT ONLINE INDUSTRY

Commercial, or fee-based, adult-oriented Web sites aren’t the only sources of pornography on the Internet, but they drive the public’s concern when it comes to protecting kids. Although it might not appear this way to you, adult material makes up only a small percent of content on the World Wide Web. It’s just that this sliver of the Internet pie gets lots of attention:

  • In any given week, about 70 million people worldwide view at least one adult Web site.
  • Approximately 100,000 adult sites are supported by U.S. businesses and there are roughly another 400,000 adult sites that exist globally.
  • The adult online entertainment industry makes about $1 billion a year.
  • According to the Nielsen/Net Ratings, in February 2002 nearly 16 percent of visitors to adult Web sites were younger than 18 years of age.

This last, alarming, statistic illustrates a major concern for parents regarding the Internet: easy access. Offline, a child trying to buy an adult magazine from a newsstand would be turned away or asked for identification. Online, however, it’s a different story. The child might not be turned away. Easy access can also lead to unintended exposure. This means that if your child says he or she came across pornography by mistake, that might indeed be exactly what happened.

Why Is It Easy to Find the Sleazy?
In addition to selling products and services, many adult Web-site operators rely on their site ads for revenue, which makes the adult-online industry highly competitive. Operators are known for their aggressive customer-seeking tactics and efforts to maximize “hits,” or visits. And because any hit is a good hit when getting paid by the hit, operators are less inclined to weed out underage children. One survey found that 74 percent of adult Web sites made their content available to everyone, kids included, by featuring it on their first page. As for sites that strategically black out or blur parts of suggestive pictures, or screen out kids, it’s a matter of debate whether such precautions are enough.

Modus Operandi
To attract visitors, adult Web-site operators might:

  • Advertise through unsolicited e-mail (spam)
  • Create subscription e-mail lists
  • Place ads on other sites
  • Pay search-engine companies for prominent placement in results
  • Buy domain (Web-site) names based on sexually oriented words or misspellings of common Web-site names
  • Buy expired non-adult sites that were once popular
  • Use everyday words such as “doll” or “girl” to attract attention
  • Pay other Web sites to get consumer traffic (often by a method known as mousetrapping)

back to top