Teen Porn 101

If they're taking their laptops and cell phones to bed with them, it's probably not to do homework.

Ethan remains at the academy, but Jake recently returned home. A big challenge, his father says, came recently when he got a new computer to start taking online classes at a community college.

"An alcoholic that wanted to stay sober wouldn't go into a bar," Brooks says. "But these kids will always be in front of a computer."
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THE CRUSADES
Federal efforts to control pornography elicited few results.

Attempts to federally regulate pornography first emerged during the Deep Throat era. After the Supreme Court ruled that people could look at what they wanted in their own homes, Congress, on an antiporn crusade, spent $2 million to fund a President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Researchers selected by the commission were charged with finding the harmful effects of watching porn.

The results couldn't have been worse for the government. The commission's final report found no link between pornography and anti-social behavior, adding that child molesters and rapists had less exposure to porn than "sexually well-adjusted" people.

More funding for broader sex education programs was suggested in the report, along with recommendations for laws that would outlaw the sale of pornographic materials to minors. Laws needed to protect people who did not seek exposure to porn, according to the report, but it also said that anti-porn laws should be repealed because legislation "should not seek to interfere with the rights of adults who wish to do so to read, obtain, or view explicit sexual materials."

The U.S. Senate almost unanimously rejected the findings, and in a statement regarding the final report, President Richard Nixon said, "I have evaluated the report and categorically reject its morally bankrupt conclusions and major recommendations. So long as I am in the White House, there will be no relaxation of the national effort to control and eliminate smut from our national life.

Commission member Morton Hill, a Jesuit priest who founded Morality in Media, was perhaps the strongest dissenter from the report, eventually holding his own hearings and filing a report that recommended stricter laws that would make illegal the sale of pornographic materials to adults.

According to one account, in "Politics and Pornography," prepared for the University of Texas – Dallas, researcher David Edwards writes, "At one of the commission's regular sessions a young radical called the project a 'blatant McCarthyesque witchhunt' and threw a whipped-cream pie in the face of his questioner."

Congress accepted Hill's report and read it into the record, but there were few results in regulating porn.

After Ronald Reagan was elected president, Father Hill snapped into action again, arranging a meeting at the White House to urge Reagan to attack pornography. The President did so by forming another commission. Linda Lovelace, the star of Deep Throat, testified at those hearings, saying, "Every time someone watches [Deep Throat], they're watching me being raped."

One commission member sent a letter to convenience store chains, telling them that they were identified as pornography distributors for selling magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. Many of the chains — 7-Eleven the largest — pulled the magazines, and one store in East Texas, according to an Associated Press article, even dropped Texas Monthly because it published a racy perfume ad. A federal judge later ruled that the letter violated the First Amendment.

Meanwhile, as the federal commissions failed to enact any real regulations, the pornography industry boomed as home video became the norm. A United Press International article published in 1986 touted the fact that a third of all households had a "videocassette recorder," and the video industry flourished because of porn. By the mid-1980s, there were 20,000 adult video stores in the country, and 75 percent of the members of the American Video Association sold or rented adult films.

paul.knight@houstonpress.com

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