I'm profoundly disturbed by a phenomenon I witnessed yesterday on YouTube.
Apparently, there is a clip from a real porn movie called Two Girls One Finger. The clip is so sick and wrong that the above girl actually vomits.
(Please note the video above is not the porn clip, watching it is disturbing, but it is not pornographic.)
I'm not going to watch the actual video because I already have a collection of images in my brain that I wish I'd never seen and I don't want to add to that. From the reactions I saw, I gather it's nude Asian girls who vomit and defecate into each other's mouths.
Like an extreme truth or dare kids are recording their own video reaction to the sick and depraved activities depicted.
Knowing what I know about the human trafficking of girls in Asian countries (UNICEF estimates that one million children are forced into prostitution or used to produce pornography each year) - it makes me wonder if viewers of Two Girls 1 Finger and it's predecessor Two Girls One Cup are participating in both the human sex slave trade and child pornography. Certainly it's not out of the realm of possibility that the girls in the video were both under duress (who would WANT to do that?) and under the age of 18.
I keep hearing the argument that parents should be monitoring their kids Internet use and making sure their children have no access to bad influences. It appears to be an argument that it's parents' sole responsibility to protect their kids and the marketplace bears no ethical or moral responsibility to society or its' children.
I wrote about this yesterday on Blog Fabulous and one woman said she had accidentally seen it by innocently following a blind link.
I emailed Jace Shoemaker-Galloway over at InternetSafetyAdvisor.info to find out if parents really do have the tools available to protect their kids from pornography and other forms of inappropriate content on the Internet.
"I have personally watched several of these types of videos. When I watched them, I had no idea what the content was or what they were about. I just knew they were disturbing yet popular. Words can not adequately describe or convey my thoughts. Those videos were not only disgusting and vile, they saddened me to watch. I asked my teenager children if they knew of these videos, and both did. Neither had personally viewed them, but they were being heavily discussed amongst their peers," Jace said.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more of these 'shock-type' viral videos, Jace said. Other content includes vicious beatings of other children and throwing puppies off cliffs. Adults too are participating, Jace warned. Jace added that the average age of first-exposure to pornography is 11 years old and she fears the age will become younger.
Will monitoring or ratings software filter out this type of video? I wanted to know.
It is important to note that filters or parental controls are not fail-safe. Similar to anti-virus software, no matter how often we update our anti-virus software, new viruses and computer threats occur on a daily basis. Also equally important, many computer-savvy children find ways to circumvent parental controls at home and at school, Jace explained.
Are good and responsible parents expected to monitor every second of Internet use in person? I asked her.
Jacer answers to the heart of my concern with the same questions I have:
Whose responsibility is it? Parents or educators? Internet Service Providers or individual websites? That is the question, isn’t it? Parents can not possibly monitor every child, every moment of the day. Even if they could, what happens when the child accesses the Internet from the Library or from a friend’s house? The values and the information MUST be instilled in our children.
Though Jace encourages communication she cautions against going into the details about viral videos with children, especially younger children. You don't really want to pollute their brains with the same information you don't want to pollute their brains with.
This type of information commonly causes parents to want to isolate their children in the name of protection, cutting off computer use all together.
Jace cautions against this strategy.
This is the main reason why children do NOT tell an adult when something has happened. If children think their computer or wireless device will be taken from them, they will not tell. It is crucial we tell our children they MUST come to us if they see something online that is upsetting or disturbing. Banning computers or electronic devices is not the answer, in fact, that approach will backfire.
Internet Safety Advisor has tons of information about the alarming prevalence of child pornography (increased 1500% since 1988) and exposure of children to pornography on the Internet (and moving to the cell phone).
I loath feeling powerless, both as a parent and a human being.
I want to know if there is legislation that protects my family's right NOT to watch this type of material as equally as free speech of pornographers is protected.
There are 9 bills before the Senate and 13 before the House of Representatives according to Congress.org.
Presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton have co-sponsored the SAFE Act of 2007. The Senate and House bill sit in a Judiciary Committee. To send a letter to your representatives follow this link to Congress.org and enter your zip code.
The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection has a list of resources to help parents keep their kids safe online.
GetNetWise recommends making a contract between parent and child about Internet use. Follow this link to view a sample contract.
GetNetWise also has a search tool that will allow you to find the right filters for your computer, software and content filters. Follow this link for that.