Well done #MothersUnion for increasing domestic violence

Let’s play with stereotypes for a moment:

  • Men are traditionally perceived to want sex, and Women (in some relationships) to retain power by denying access to it
  • So Women press to have household porn blocked
  • Men (inarticulate, without explaining why) get shirty and frustrated

Result: increase in domestic violence and a modest uptick in prostitution. Perhaps a few rapes.

Thank you, Mothers Union, for improving society.

Oh, and the “enabling government censorship” thing? There’s that, too. Nice one, Reg.

If this sounds crazy – back in the 1970s/1980s there was a stink at collieries (and similar factories) in Britain, when the cash-filled wage packet (ie: an envelope) was ditched in favour of cheques and/or direct payments into banks; this meant the working men couldn’t steam open the envelope and remove some cash before handing it over to their wives.

36 thoughts on “Well done #MothersUnion for increasing domestic violence

  1. Dave Walker

    In all honesty, I don’t see how the telcos involved are going to implement technical measures to block pornography; it’s been tried before, and always failed (even before big image caches made site blacklisting impractical).

    Of course, the ISP tail could start wagging the societal dog, in terms of tastes in pornographic material diversifying; let’s not forget that to a gent of our grandfathers’ generation, the sight of a lady’s well-turned ankle was considered quite the turn-on…

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  2. Gammidgy

    I think the practicalities will ensure that this crazy scheme will never come into effect. I’d like to think that Cameron is smart enough to realise this and that he is just cynically pacifying the puritan busybodies, but I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on that.

    Nevertheless, the government’s eagerness to censor our content must be vociferously opposed. And to think that the Tories used to complain about New Labour’s nannying tendancies!

    James Firth wrote a comprehensive post on this issue some months ago: http://www.slightlyrightofcentre.com/2011/02/i-dont-need-to-defend-porn-to-fight-uk.html

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  3. GrumH

    No it won’t. And it’s not the MU that increases domestic violence, and you of all people know that. I’m afraid this post does not match your normal well thought-out and rationally-based ones. Can I suggest you go to http://makelovenotporn.com/ and watch http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/.
    There also is a wealth of stuff about porn (especially the more dungeon stuff) being responsible for domestic violence, so to suggest that parents being asked when they buy a new piece of kit for their KIDS (FFS!) to stop THEM seeing porn will increase the level of domestic violence… well that just beggers belief. Come on Muffet, brain in gear and write something thoughtful about this situation please.

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  4. alecm Post author

    @GrumH

    No it won’t.

    I believe that there’s at least as much risk of increased violence due to societal change from censoriousness, as there is risk of increased violence due to porn.

    And it’s not the MU that increases domestic violence, and you of all people know that.

    Agreed; it’s people who want to inhibit and control other people, who create the rules that have unintended consequences. The MU are just unfortunate enough to be led by someone who further enables a band of politicians – notably Claire Perry MP – whom I deem to fall into the former category.

    I’m afraid this post does not match your normal well thought-out and rationally-based ones.

    It’s a hypothetical, and frankly I suspect the scenario described will happen somewhere, but it will be lost in the noise.

    Can I suggest you go to http://makelovenotporn.com/ and watch http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/

    I’ve seen both; and if I point you at another place that has a good rep for your target audience, eg: http://www.scarleteen.com/ – would you take it seriously?

    Also I presume you caught Cindy’s point about her being a fan of hardcore porn albeit that she’d like it not to “resemble open heart surgery”.

    That’s not quite square with “protect the kiddies” censorship.

    Cindy is talking about wanting porn that does not suck (so to speak) through setting stupid and unrealistic expectations[1] – and I would agree, in much the same way that I think much body dysmorphia and eating disorders are partly caused by the evils of magazine covers being “touched up”.

    Maybe we could get Reg and the MU to get the government to license access to Adobe Photoshop, do you think that’d be a popular move?

    Also Cindy is dead wrong about the porn industry being entirely sewn-up by men and male attitudes; there are any number of women directors and (especially) independents out there who aren’t hampered by such blinkers as Cindy describes… unless they’re into blindfolds of course.

    There’s a longer version of Cindy’s talk at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/06/cindy-gallop-on-the-way-porn-is-shaping-our-sex-lives/ which spells it out a bit more.

    Watch from the 7m50 mark, but take the whole thing in as a refresher.

    I agree with her closing points wholeheartedly. She wants engagement, reality and respect. Nowhere does she suggest we need a big blacked-out chunk of internet, and she flatly calls-out web-blocking as being ineffective.

    There also is a wealth of stuff about porn (especially the more dungeon stuff) being responsible for domestic violence,

    Citation please? I know a bunch of people who are into that sort of thing, and generally they wouldn’t hurt a fly without permission.

    so to suggest that parents being asked when they buy a new piece of kit for their KIDS (FFS!) to stop THEM seeing porn will increase the level of domestic violence

    You know, I have no problem with parents being asked if they want control over what their kids see.

    What I have problems with is the infrastructure that is deployed to support it, and the risk of it being on by default, and the potential it poses for misuse.

    You’re married with a kid and I don’t think you’ve deployed any such filters, yet somehow you’ve avoided early grandfatherhood; so it’s possible to raise kids without a government-sponsored safety net – so why foist that infrastructure and cost on everyone else?

    well that just beggers belief. Come on Muffet, brain in gear and write something thoughtful about this situation please.

    Is this thoughtful enough for you to avoid the ad-hominem and engage me now, Grum?

    [1] That said: unrealistic expectations are at the heart of every romance-turned-kitchen-sink-drama, so perhaps there’s no getting away from that.

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  5. GrumH

    Better. Now why didn’t you write that first rather than the quite untrue and (dare I say) libellous title you started with.
    Always engaged in this, which is why I commented.
    There does seem to be confusion over whether this is opt in (Guardian) or opt out (BBC). I agree that poor filtering causes problems, but there are many parents out there who are clueless and need the help offered.
    Perhaps this is a project for you to do – is there a way of having filters set so that ignorant parents can be helped to limit what kiddies see?
    As the Guardian article says “Cameron wrote to Bailey in June to thank him for his report. “I very much agree with the central approach you set out,” the letter said.

    “As you say, we should not try and wrap children up in cotton wool or simply throw our hands up and accept the world as it is. Instead, we should look to put ‘the brakes on an unthinking drift towards ever-greater commercialisation and sexualisation’.”

    And did you note the “Several phrases and a heading in this article were amended on 11 October 2011 to make clear that the report on children was produced by Reg Bailey with Department of Education staff, not by the Mothers’ Union.”

    So, I return to my original point, that your blog heading is erroneous and misleading; and likewise your suggestion of censorship causing domestic violence (which I note is uncitated…)

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  6. alecm Post author

    A slightly-more-thought-through followup to my faintly flippant Magazine-Cover point above:

    When activists want to undo the fallacious, touched-up, photoshopped images that adorn magazine covers, what they don’t talk about is putting the magazines on top shelves and otherwise inhibiting their distribution.

    Nor do they speak of licensing copies of Photoshop to trusted individuals who have passed a CRB.

    Instead they speak of truth in advertising and banning the use of artificial imagery like this…

    http://skinnyvscurvy.com/hollywood-moms/real-versus-photoshopped-jessica-alba.html

    …in otherwise normal magazines.

    So… what we actually need is Government proposals for ensuring creation of (and a market for) realistic porn, rather than censorship.

    No?

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  7. GrumH

    Government creation of porn. The mind boggles. I have a vision of OfPorn, and target setting… (films are limited to no more than 20 orgasms in an hour). If there was ‘realistic porn’ would it lose its entertainment value (imagine the camera angles for missionary position!); and you still have the problems of children stumbling across it.

    anyway, your second post made for a more interesting discussion. Ta! off to bed now. (but I’m still haunted by OfPorn….)

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  8. alecm Post author

    I doubt there’s perfection, I’m glad there’s a host of information that is available currently to teens and others.

    What happens when it gets blocked, Grum?

    Responding to your question above: is there a way of having filters set so that ignorant parents can be helped to limit what kiddies see? – this is known as the “Scunthorpe Problem”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem

    See also “clbuttic” via Google.

    As for the art of polemic: is there anywhere on the MU site that distances them from the Bailey Report and its consequences? Their name is everywhere today, and apparently Cameron unveiled the plans at a MU meeting:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7304758/cameron-tackles-internet-porn-with-more-government.thtml

    …so, you know, if they’re not supportive of the measures and hold themselves aloof of Reg’s work (which itself spun out of Bye Buy Childhood as I understand it) – then I would really like to see them make that statement and I will happily recant and point at it.

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  9. Raelin

    “There are no scientific studies that show that exposure to nonviolent sexual material causes a person to commit a sexual crime or become more sexually aggressive.

    Dr. Judith Becker, associate professor
    of clinical psychology at Columbia University ”

    “Those who advocate the censorship of sexual material have repeatedly enlisted the help of researchers to prove a link between sexual materials — even hard-core pornography — and sexual crimes.

    And, repeatedly, either no valid link was found or, in the case of a Chapman University study, it was actually found that there was a reverse relationship. In areas of the country where pornography expanded the fastest, there was a decrease in rapes. In fact, since 1993, rape in the United States has dropped 72 percent.”

    “Confounding any simple cause-and-effect between pornography and sex crime is the fact that when some countries legalized pornography, sex crimes in the country decreased. For example, when Denmark removed all obscenity laws, the incidence of sex crimes dropped by nearly 50 percent”

    http://libertus.net/censor/resources/studies2.html for a stack more of scientific research that was all aimed at finding a positive link between porn’s presence and sexual violence and failed……………. BUT

    The most consistent statistical link that is supported across the western world is that suppression of porn’s availability does in fact increase sexual violence – sorry GrumH!!! I agree with Alecm on this one.

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  10. H

    Er….. what? “In fact, since 1993, rape in the United States has dropped 72 percent.” This is totally unprovable and utterly fictitious. It may mean ‘reported’ rapes but that ISN’T the same. Actually I agree with Graham, but it’s always so much easier to blame women for male wrongdoing (ie. blaming the MU) rather than men taking responsibility for themselves. How on earth does lack of access to porn make men more violent, unless they are uncontrollable monsters with no ability to control their behaviour?

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  11. alecm Post author

    I’ll leave you two ladies to argue rape statistics.

    Fortunately, I’m not blaming women, I am blaming the MU’s Chief Executive who wrote the report, and the MU who appear to be permitting him to use them as a platform and who (likewise, from the coverage, it would appear) seem to benefit in growth of name recognition.

    To try and class that as misogyny is a cheap shot, H.

    How on earth does lack of access to porn make men more violent, unless they are uncontrollable monsters with no ability to control their behaviour?

    I believe the latter’s point is a staple both of Greer and the late Dworkin, but yes, some guys are utter bastards unless they get laid occasionally.

    They exist, I have met them, and generally I avoid them.

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  12. H

    I have many issues with feminists such as Greer and Dworkin, as you probably know. Actually, as an MU member I strongly support the Chief Executive and the work he’s doing, so “permitting” doesn’t come into it. I wasn’t attacking you for misogyny by the way, simply thinking about the responsibilisation of women which is visible in many different arenas. I haven’t got time to explain myself properly but I’ve been writing a lot on this recently, in the context of the Raoul Moat case.

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  13. alecm Post author

    Actually, as an MU member I strongly support the Chief Executive and the work he’s doing, so “permitting” doesn’t come into it.

    So you’re suggesting the MU are (for want of a better word) complicit – which is what Grum is taking pains to suggest they are not?

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  14. GrumH

    Raelin, thanks for the research here, but I note that it’s to do with adults. I’ve written some stuff on my blog and since Alec was kind enough to tag himself there, I’ll do my bit here http://goo.gl/SOjYD.

    So, bit by bit..

    1) It’s not just the MU, but the ISPs (although they are annoyed at the release the Govt messed up here as reported by the Telegraph http://goo.gl/2OhQg), as well as this small list of notables: Advertising Standards Authority, Authority for Television On Demand, BBC Trust, British Board of Film Classification, Office of Communications, Press Complaints Commission, Video Standards Council/Pan-European Game Information. So perhaps your headline should be modified to include these folk. Oh, and the Government as well while you’re at it. But perhaps that won’t be such a pithy and controversial headline. Is that a problem? Nothing to do with taking pains on being complicit; just accurate. I don’t believe I ever said that the MU was against the report; just that it was not produced by them.

    2) I’m more concerned about the effect of kiddies accessing things that they won’t understand or be ready for. Whether adults want to watch porn is moot… giving parents an optional hand to screen what their children watch I think is a good idea. I suppose the questions that still need to be answered are “Are children suitable viewers of porn? Is there research on this? Should there be safeguards to help parents

    3) the thing that perhaps you are worried about is the practicalities of HOW the screening is done, which I can see you would have problems with since you know the technical difficulties doing it.

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  15. alecm Post author

    @Grum:

    1) You know, I’d accept some of that argument if the ISPs actually wanted it, but my sources are unanimous at being horrified at the thought of becoming censors – and censors with a ill-defined remit, to boot. Some MPs are behind the measure, to be sure, but the MU is the NGO whose name is being bandied about as wanting this, whether they are officially behind it or merely unofficially behind it.

    They should make a stand and deny it.

    2) I’d be much more inclined to support Cindy Gallop’s argument (which I note you’ve not mentioned since my rebuttal) that the greater risk is in kiddies picking up implausible concepts of what is good, bad, what should/should-not happen and what you should/should-not look like when you’re grown up and indulging in sex.

    At some point that argument itself degenerates into “candy cigarettes promote smoking” (I chewed my way through dozens of menthol-flavoured sugar sticks and chocolate cigars, and don’t smoke barring perhaps 2x cigars per year) – but yeah we have enough kids who are already talking about plastic surgery, thank you very much.

    Are children suitable viewers of porn? I doubt it not only because they are not the intended audience, but also because they lack the maturity to “get” some aspects of it – but the inability to “get” it can also last a lifetime.

    I remember you telling me that you just monitored C and when encountering unexpected nudity on the Web described it as something like “just people being silly” and moving on. I thought that was great. All of a sudden you need big guns to do the filtering for you?

    3) No. If anything, given free reign I could do the screening a lot better than any Government IT project could. But I wouldn’t, because it is the FACT that the screening is done, and may become entrenched, that worries me.

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  16. GrumH

    1) OK – that’s not the impression I had, but mine’s just from the BBC. I guess your sources are closer to hand? And I do understand that whilst from my point of view I would want a support to parents, from a technical point of view it must be a horrifying prospect.
    2) Sorry for not mentioning Cindy… my oversight. And yes, absolutely, which is why I mentioned it… from the point of view of how some porn sets up mythologies for those who have no other experience. It’s something we deal with in school about ‘sex in the context of a loving mutually supportive and non-abusive relationship’. We also run sessions in our relationships day, and through PSE, about communication and awareness. I’m just aware that other schools don’t do this. I like the sweet cigarettes promote smoking – did you read http://goo.gl/tpghj about alcohol education and coffee? Brilliant!
    Your continuation about children and porn… from school I know that kids view it, and we do see problems with relationships as a result. The basic thing is communication with women (it’s largely a problem with lads), but equally that could be down to the type of dad they have. I’m not a sociologist, but it would be interesting to see if a cross sectional study has been done to see what the effects really are. I wonder if Raelin can find something, or indeed if H can shed some light?
    With C… yeah. And also we’ve always been very open with him about contraception (when I did my Sex Ed day, I brought home the ‘suitcase’ of bits). But then ‘we’re not a typical couple’, and not the parents that I meet at my parents’ evenings (as mentioned on my blog :D )
    3) teehee… ‘reign’ = ‘rein’, but that’s just funny in the context. And again, harking back to (1) I understand why you as an adult would not want the screening, but I hope you can see that not everyone is as IT aware as ‘us’, and that many parents want and need the support that screening provides. Certainly it was something that the Bailey report (http://goo.gl/YQVj7, which I’m sure you read..?) identified on p15 para 5. I didn’t read anything about ‘adults being banned’; simply about “that customers must make an active choice
    over what sort of content they want to allow their children to access”. Again, focus on children.
    I take it from your posting that you are seeing a ‘thin end of the wedge’ here? That if certain sites are blocked ‘for the good of children’ now, then others will be blocked for ‘at risk adults’, then ‘feminists’ then ooooh ‘musliims’ etc?
    Have I read you correctly here?

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  17. H

    er…..maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t a great deal of internet pornography absolutely illegal anyway, under the anti-obscenity and anti-pornography legislation?

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  18. H

    There is a huge amount of research on how pornography perpetuates ‘rape myths’ and Estrich’s conception of the so-called ‘real rape’…

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  19. alecm Post author

    My attention has been elsewhere the past few days, so let’s pull a few of these things together now…

    —-

    H:

    1) You’re the legal person, so ignoring for the moment the question of British-sourced porn, do tell me please how a website based in the USA, Canada or Germany is “absolutely illegal anyway” if the data is hosted, sourced, and legal in those countries, away from UK jurisdiction?

    UK citizens may browse and _pull_ data to the UK, but that’s not the same as having the website push/export it to the UK; if there’s any illegality it hinges upon the viewer/consumer pulling something into the UK which may be (but probably is not) illegal under British law.

    2) Clearly you have no idea what the majority of porn looks like, if you’re phrasing a question like “isn’t a great deal of internet pornography absolutely illegal anyway” – but let’s define it as “websites that would likely be blocked as ‘adult content’”, so that would include…

    http://fleshbot.com/ – a magazine about sex, sexuality, and porn, and which includes / links to bits of porn, but by and large is not porn itself. It’s rather meta.

    http://www.janineashbless.blogspot.com/ – a blog written by a friend of mine who lives “Oop North” and makes a living writing porn (ostensibly) for women, including Black Lace and whatever imprints have replaced it.

    http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/ – Brooke Magnanti / Belle De Jour, writing on sex workers’ rights and other sex-related issues, including http://goo.gl/DP8AT the Bailey Report

    http://www.pinuppost.com/ – modern and vintage cheesecake

    3) …and this is what really worries me: I’ve always considered you as tremendously liberal, but didn’t you just deploy a “Surely most of it is rubbish, and therefore it should all be banned?” argument-from-a-complete-lack-of-information?

    When did you start reading the Daily Mail?

    I’m not going to delve into the rape-myth-philosophy thing other than to note that a long-long-distant-ex often complained that I would never “overwhelm” her, and at that time I had _no_ idea what she was on about. Louis CK put it much better than I ever could in a standup routine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hNaFkbZYU

    —-

    Grum:

    1) We both know people in the ISP industry. Ask around.

    2) ‘Sex in the context of a loving mutually supportive and non-abusive relationship’ is a wonderful ideal. I support explaining/pitching it to kids. That said, loving relationships have their downsides, too. As does sex-outside-the-context-of-a-LMS&NAR. But otherwise it also has upsides.

    Life’s a rollercoaster, even for virgins.

    3) Coffee / http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15265317 is fascinating, reminds me of some stuff I read about the early coffee houses in London (eg: Lloyds http://goo.gl/nfLzK ) and how Coffee was an evil drink compared to “Good British Beer”.

    4) “Kids see porn, relationship problems as a result.”
    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

    5) I wish you were a “typical couple”; moreover I wish both that more couples were more like you, and also that you would/could assume that more couples are rather like you.

    Similar couples do exist; applauding/calling for legislation on behalf of couples whom you a) believe exist b) assume are not like/much worse than you, & c) assume are massively numerous yet somehow inert and in need of you to boost for legislation to ‘protect’ them and their kids… is very presumptuous.

    6) Page 15 para 5, extract:

    “To provide a consistent level of protection across all media, as a matter of urgency, the internet industry should ensure that customers must make an active choice over what sort of content they want to allow their children to access.”

    Note the word, MUST. So, I MUST be burdened with acting, on the off-chance that I have children like you. Did I mention presumption?

    Perhaps the ISP sign-up form should be:

    • Do you have children in the house?
    • If so, is there a risk that seeing porn will corrupt them?
    • If you have answered “yes” to both of these questions, shall we switch off Porn and whatever else we or the Government deem unfit for your kiddies to see, because you’re presumably too lazy to be decent parents?

    In summary: You chose to breed; so look after your own and don’t make me / the rest of us work harder (and maybe suffer censorship) just because you’ve got children… Oh, wait, you mean my taxes fund _schools_ too? Damn. I’m already supporting your / everyone else’s kids. At least leave me the porn. </humour>

    More on Bailey; I don’t agree with all of it, but:

    http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/bailey-report-on-sexualisation-first.html

    http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/bailey-review-ii-defining-terms.html

    http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/10/wag-dog.html

    -a

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  20. alecm Post author

    While we’re at it, I am very much in favour of a government that says:

    “You’re fat? Maybe you should sort it out for yourselves?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15289625

    …and I cannot comprehend those who call for the whip-crack of greater regulation to solve this problem; but then that’s same problem as the above, isn’t it?

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  21. Simon

    “some guys are utter bastards unless they get laid occasionally¨

    Experience suggests this isn’t gender specific….

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  22. E

    I’ve being trying to work out my response to your original post. I’m probably going to sound as if I am sitting on the fence but here I go:

    In my opinion, widespread free availability of various levels of porn is not a good thing. This is from my perspective as a Christian mother, wife and teacher. I accept that other people will have different viewpoints of what is and isn’t acceptable dependent on their own life situation.

    I remember being given a dictionary at the end of year 6. My friends and I had a lot of fun trying to find the rudest and naughtiest words that we could. Children will seek the forbidden or the things that have a tag of naughty / bad. Fast forward that to 2011. Now they search on google images.

    My two daughters (aged 8 and 10) have been brought up using the internet and computers. We’ve always had rules about the use of google. Put simply; at their age they are only allowed to google search after having asked permission and they are meant to have a parent in the room and the door to the dining room must be open. They are at the end of a 2 week ban from the computer because they searched google images using various key words that I would rather that they hadn’t. They got caught because the computer is in the dining room and from the door you can see the screen. Whilst J was cooking tea he heard them go quiet so he was suspicious.

    J and I did good cop bad cop (as I was out at the time). They got banned from the computer because they abused our trust. We both believe in being open with them about anything that they want to know. I actually said that the next time they want to look at images of penises etc then they need to ask us. I understand that they will be curious and that’s fine by me. What concerns me is that they might see images that are very inappropriate. I would rather search, check and then let them look rather than outright ban them. Children will always find ways around censorship.

    At work we have tightly filtered internet access. It frustrates me because so many useful sites are blocked eg National Geographic and The Sun. However, this didn’t stop a pupil deliberately accessing porn during a lesson. I wouldn’t have known how to do that but the pupil did.

    Despite having two innocent girls at home (although no longer so innocent) I would not support the filtering of the internet. I am more internet savvy than nearly every other mum that I know and yet I know that I have very little technological knowledge. I think that many parents would be lulled into a false sense of security. What concerns me is how many parents who completely support the censorship of the internet to block porn allow their young children free access to the internet through laptops and mobile phones without any supervision whatsoever. Surely the first thing is to have conversations about acceptable behaviour on the internet? Learn and then teach kids about phishing scams, grooming etc.

    My next issue is how do we decide what porn is? Who decides? How do we then filter this so that people who don’t wish to receive it are shielded from it? I don’t know. I can not see how you could. Is an excerpt from a book with a graphic description of sex porn or is it explicit song lyrics or just images? I don’t know. If I can’t even decide on a criteria because the subject is a range of greys from the lightest to the darkest then who can actually make that decision? How do you respond to the rapidity with which data can be uploaded onto the internet and moved around?

    I have no technological knowledge so I can’t comment on how you could implement this. J says that to get it completely right and block everything that needed to be is impossible.

    Speaking as a teacher, I have deep worries about the pervasiveness of porn in society. I can’t comment whether changes in the availability of porn will change domestic violence. What I can comment about is that many girls feel that they have no ownership of their bodies. Many young teenagers feel that they have no choice about whether their boyfriend has sex with them or not or don’t feel that they can say no to providing explicit images of their body or even to whether they have to shave their pubic hair. That worries me deeply. At my school the sex and relationships education is really good but time and time again I hear comments regarding the expectations of society.

    Now does this have anything to do with the availability of porn? I don’t know. I suspect the porn issue is a subset of a much wider problem that no-one knows how to tackle. I think that the politicians see jumping on the anti-porn bandwagon as a good move to get them re-elected. I would rather see much more debate about society’s views of sex.

    For the sake of my daughters I would like a society where they can feel ownership of their own bodies. I hope that from home they will have learnt enough about what (I view) a normal non-abusive relationship is. I hope that they will have the knowledge to make their own choices regarding sex.

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  23. GrumH

    @E absolutely.
    @AlecM
    * seen this? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/8820598/Spare-our-children-from-this-online-pornography-assault.html – it’s interesting as it’s written by Rowan Pelling…
    * re “post hoc”, seen it done. May not be sole cause of relationship problems, but making ‘urrrrrrr’ noises in presence of female staff cannot be seen as anything other than one problem caused by viewing material unsuitable for a child’s age.
    * “loving relationship” have a downside? Really? See that word ‘loving’…? Where’s the downside to a ‘loving relationship’, or are you thinking about ‘Eyes Wide Shut’: Nicole still loved Tom despite dreams, Tom just wanted revenge on Nicole: was he acting in a loving way? ‘Love’ is a process not an event.
    * ‘fat’ – yes absolutely. But you have to admit that should people need to lose weight, there are the optional tools in society (diets, weight watchers, sports clubs etc) and these are well advertised so people can access these. For Porn, there NOW the advertised tools for parents (like screens, opt ins/outs); and debates like this raise the profile of these tools. Surely that’s a good thing?
    * coffee… yup, and tomatoes.
    * ‘typical couples’… don’t forget I see and talk to several dozen sets of parents each year about their kiddies, and I’ve been doing the job for nearly 20 years. That’s a big data set. Where’s your data set for your point? I’m *not* saying we’re unique; I *am* saying that some parents need more help than others, and I’ve said that now several times.
    * access – note the ‘for children’. You have none, so I guess (I hope anyway) that the question would never need to be asked whether you want to view porn or not. If it was me in charge… “do you have children? OK, would you like us to give you a passworded filter to limit access to adult sites? It’s not a perfect filter, so we’ll also send you something to read to help you make sure your children surf safely. There’s also a talk at blahblah.whatever for you to watch if you’d like to listen to someone.” Otherwise, you get the lot. In fact, funnily enough, having just read your bit again, it’s just what you said. So, I think , possibly, we may be in agreement here. However, the question ‘do you have children?’ would still need to be asked.
    * E is saying the same things I am.
    * Your title is still incorrect, so turn it round to ‘Porn prevents domestic violence’ (which is more correct to the tone of the original posting) and see what comments you get. Go on, I dare you to, in the spirit of free speech.

    Reply
  24. alecm Post author

    * seen this? [deletia] – it’s interesting as it’s written by Rowan Pelling…

    Pelling’ article is an early one (published on the 11th) – influenced by the press releases rather than the “but-but-but…” which came out of the ISPs afterwards.

    Further she writes: “The Government and the parenting bodies are just trying to ensure that the young are not targeted. What s not to like?” – for me she answers her own question when she says “Government”.

    I touch on this in http://dropsafe.crypticide.com/article/5121 – slides 195 to 202

    * re “post hoc”, seen it done. May not be sole cause of relationship problems, but making ‘urrrrrrr’ noises in presence of female staff cannot be seen as anything other than one problem caused by viewing material unsuitable for a child’s age.

    Cannot be seen as anything other than bad parenting, lack of discipline, outright cheek etc, in my book. Go watch Sid James in any of the later Carry-On movies, tell me he’s not doing the same.

    * “loving relationship” have a downside? Really? See that word ‘loving’…? Where’s the downside to a ‘loving relationship’,

    Well I remember being wrecked for at least a year over one that didn’t work out. You’ve only had the one wife/lover/relationship, yes? If so, lucky you for a bullseye on the first shot.

    For Porn, there NOW the advertised tools for parents (like screens, opt ins/outs); and debates like this raise the profile of these tools. Surely that’s a good thing?

    You’ld like to see public computer security information campaigns? So would I! It would be constructive, unlike anything else the Government could do.

    Check out the rest of the above slide deck from slide 202 onwards. I’ll post the audio soon.

    But I also argue against state-sponsored cybersecurity for a bunch of reasons: ossification, inflexibility of solutions, development of monoculture, stagnation, and (of course) the massive risks of centralised and unified security management.

    In short: this is my turf.

    * ‘typical couples’… don’t forget I see and talk to several dozen sets of parents each year about their kiddies, and I’ve been doing the job for nearly 20 years. That’s a big data set. Where’s your data set for your point?

    Being alive for 43 years, knowing you for 24 of them, and working in environments where you get to meet and work with 100s of other people and watching their relationships wax and wane.

    I’m *not* saying we’re unique; I *am* saying that some parents need more help than others, and I’ve said that now several times.

    Yes. And I’m questioning whether any MU-backed and heavily MU-influenced State-driven initiative is the right framework for defining and imposing that help.

    * access – note the ‘for children’. You have none, so I guess (I hope anyway) that the question would never need to be asked whether you want to view porn or not.

    Some particularly sensitive types might like filtration for personal use – which is fine; I use AdBlockPlus for similar reasons; but seeking a nationwide ban on web advertising (by analogy) would be equally fruitless as “filtering” porn away from the nation’s households..

    * E is saying the same things I am.

    I disagree. E is saying “I don’t know” a lot, and questioning the rights to judge matters, and that’s fair enough.

    If you want a anti-porn-based analogy (and one I can rather agree with) for how I see the inverse of this situation, check out this Jesus&Mo strip: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/09/28/porn2/

    From my perspective the difference between our positions is that I am not calling for anything to be done (restricted, regulated) on behalf of “other people”; I see myself as seeking “freedom from interference” by calling for things not to be done.

    And please don’t come back with a variation of “porn is being pushed down our collective throats” because that’s no more being done than any other form of advertising, and you’ve already addressed it to your own satisfaction.

    * Your title is still incorrect, so turn it round to ‘Porn prevents domestic violence’ (which is more correct to the tone of the original posting) and see what comments you get. Go on, I dare you to, in the spirit of free speech.

    That would be like saying “Vitamin C prevents Death” – which it does, in specific circumstances. If you’re at risk of scurvy and lack VitC, death is inevitable; but as a statement it goes too far since it won’t stop death-by-cancer.

    ps: So you’re daring me now? So much like the old schoolyard.

    Reply
  25. Helen Codd

    I am reluctantly leaving the debate as I genuinely have no time to write a long email explaining my views. I am not, and have never ever been, ‘liberal’ as to pornography. The most readable recent book which covers my view is ‘Living Dolls’ by Natasha Walter. which is a profoundly important but also very easy-to-read book.

    Reply
  26. E

    E thinks that she is saying many of the same things as Grum!

    Many of my ‘I don’t knows’ are because I don’t see how this problem can be tackled or whether it is that the free availability of porn is symptomatic of wider problems in society or one of the causes.

    It is very difficult to know how to express myself clearly to explain just why this issue is such a concern to me as a parent and a teacher.

    I will just try to cover an example.

    I feel strongly that my daughters shouldn’t be exposed to excesses of alcohol / drug taking / smoking. When they are older they can decide for themselves and hopefully will have had enough experience and education to make wise decisions. In the mean time I can keep them away from most exposure to alcohol / drug taking / smoking. As parents we do neither of the latter and only drink very moderately. We socialise with people who are like minded. My daughters have never seen anyone that they know drunk or under the influence of drugs.

    However, how can I keep them away from porn and shield them? And I do think that children should be shielded and allowed to retain their innocence for as long as possible. I don’t know how to do that without banning televisions and computers from our house (as well as making sure they don’t get to read certain magazines). I’m sure there are more benefits than disadvantages in allowing my daughters access to the internet as overall it’s an enriching medium.

    Just because I don’t see that it is possible to filter porn doesn’t mean that I find it acceptable that there is so much available for consuming.

    Add to that the experiences of the many hundreds of pupils that I have taught. One downside of my job is that it has removed my rosy tinted view that in general all children are well parented and have secure home lives. This is not the case for a larger minority of children than I’d like to believe. Grooming and abuse and lack of childhood occurs too often. Children need protecting when their parents can’t or won’t. I don’t know how we as a society can provide that protection but I really wish that we could.

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      Solutions to filter things that we cannot define are untenable – were we talking about filtering all “advertising” rather than porn, we’d have to kill banner ads, Google AdWords, Amazon Recommendations, streamed Apple product announcements, and tweets from friends raving about cool new products.

      Rather than banning advertising, the solution is to educate kids at home to understand it – enjoy it even, for instance the PG Tips “Chimps” adverts of the 1980s, and the Gold-Blend, Bisto and BT mini soap-operas – but still also teach them to recognise that there is a bias in it, a fantasy element, and to not be swayed by that.

      I have no problem with there being so much advertising “available for consuming”; but if I prefer that …

      - I only see it when I want to see it
      - that it’s relevant
      - that it mostly represents reality (the Bisto family are _not_ a real family)

      Ditto porn, or indeed any other class of content.

      It’s not the MU’s job to pursue the means to ban any form of content from entering houses of the unwashed masses; but they can demand that it be ethical and relevant.

      That’s all.

      Reply

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