News Reviews from 2013

Trying to manage behaviours on the internet

Pornography on the Internet - a necessity?

by Joanne Green

This article attempts to scrutinise if internet pornography is a necessity for today’s existence. Locating statistical popularity of internet pornography from reliable sources was difficult and much of the research of the effects of pornography was paediatric and animalia.


2005 research in America of a 1500 National Sample identified two in five 10-17 year olds had been ‘exposed to online pornography’ in 2004, and for 415 of those the exposure was unwanted (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2007). They defined unwanted exposure as,

‘being exposed to pictures of naked people or people having sex without seeking or expecting such pictures, when doing online searches, surfing the web, opening email, or instant messages or links in messages.’

One in four of the original sample had experienced unwanted exposure when file sharing or downloading internet images. The participants did not disclose or describe the effects of the unsolicited exposures upon their wellbeing. However males (in the UK) are more likely to use the internet than women (Office for National Statistics, 2013), consequently download more than women from the internet. In Wolak et al’s research males had the highest unwanted exposure prevalence rate and concluded further research is required of potential impact of exposure is needed noting,

‘youth with certain vulnerabilities, depression, interpersonal victimisation, and delinquent tendencies, have more exposure.’


Research by Twohig & Crosby, 2010, found not all men accepted internet pornography and that some viewers of pornography found it disrupting and problematic whereby problems impacted upon their work, personal and social relationships. This type of problematic behaviour is also termed Sexual Addiction and its treatment consists of behaviour change and utilising coping strategies. These researchers offered these treatments by way of one and a half hours per week of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (Twohig & Crosby, 2012) to their research subjects noting an 85% reduction in pornography viewing. Relapse rate at three months was 2%. World Health Organisation define addiction as being unable to control ones behaviour without the substance which controls that behaviour. There has been a call to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to categorise sexual addiction as a mental illness, however, twenty years ago there was a call for internet addiction to be classified as a mental illness too. Given there are so many blogs and interactive internet sites and regular internet use is at all ages below sixteen to over seventy-fives this may categorise everyone as internet addicts and in effect defeat its dissimilarity objective.


Panda see, Panda doGiven the similarities between the brains of humans with other mammals, it was not surprising that the Chinese panda Ki Lin and her partner-to-be Yongyong became aroused after viewing panda-pornography their zoo keepers had given them for the purpose of reproduction. Could this mean that as there have been self-confessions of humans suffering sex-addiction, other higher mammals are predisposed to sex addiction too? Also note, the pandas viewing pornography was for reproduction with the outcome aim being an offspring. Their viewing was not solely for pleasure therefore the sexual development of sexual characteristics’ gender roles, masculine and female, were not compromised as they are when humans watch pornography for pleasure. Nor were the subcultural conditions that appropriate sex compromised in that there was only one male and one female present, would the result have been different had there been a number of females and males present?


It has been noted that socio-psychological drivers such as peer pressure do impact upon human groups when they view pornography together. It has created a billion pound industry based upon sex- in books, films, and speciality shops (Sheper & Reisman, 1985), and in those formats is accepted around the globe including ‘top tens’ with which to subscribe to such as books and film and which promise to give readers and viewers pleasure. Peer pressure occurs where haplorhines (monkeys and apes with eyes facing forward), which includes humans, have complex social hierarchy and organisation. However pornography itself does not have these in internet pornography- they are however visible in books and movies and do result in crowd contagion responses.


Crowd contagion has been evident for hundreds of years in politics, support for monarchy and trade unions, and a few years ago the 2011 youth riots. Crowd contagion can even be used for understanding The Customer therefore assisting organisations to provide good customer service. These illustrate that internet pornography is a trend and one that can be understood on a basic level as it provides a virtual sense of acceptance. However, does it provide the social intelligence that traditional crowd contagion does- interpersonal dynamics, decision-making, empathy and concern? These traits are formed as the human mind’s neurochemicals are released during arousal, be it sexual or otherwise. When sexually aroused though, testosterone and dopermine are increased in men and women as is oxytocin to varying degrees pre- and post-sexual activity.


So does internet pornography mimic social intelligence and provide neurochemicals to the users of internet pornography who then act upon their urges, as an addict does, and as a natural response? If so, are sexual crimes ‘normal’ behaviour and ones to be curbed by polite request when in the workplace or other establishments, so as not to impede with the provision of good customer service?


Mitchell et al, 2006, researched Youth Report Trends and established sexual solicitations were reducing in affluent areas yet not in areas of less affluence. Please remember the solicitations are ‘virtual’ and not aggressive solicitations which require physically meeting. This coincides with findings by the Criminology Research Council who note,

‘highly disadvantaged areas did not always have the highest levels of anti social behaviour.’ (McGee, Wickes, Bor, & Najman, 2009).


In addition internet harassment had increased and to white and non-Hispanic youths (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2007). On the contrary adults, external to work, who are affluent or in prestigious jobs resulting in a gross weekly pay of more than £500, are aged between sixteen and forty-four have been found to use the internet more than people who have lower incomes and that demographically London, the South East and the South West contain the highest rate of internet users (Office for National Statistics, 2013).


However would it be fair to make sweeping statements based upon demography and income in relation to the internet pornography? Perhaps as each case is found to be deviant of the English legal system it must be viewed and scrutinised by its facts, as deviances currently are such as the recent sentencing of a teacher who exchanged personal images with his young mistress (Lawson, 2013).


Internet pornography arouses behaviour that is normal yet unacceptable when out of context or unwanted.



Southfield School for Girls V Briggs & Forrester (Electrical) Ltd & Ors , EWHC 3403 (High November 22, 2007).

R -v- Jeremy Forrest, T201020851 (Lewes Crown Court June 21, 2013).

Department for Education. (2013, June 3).

Capital funding allocations announced on 1 March 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from Department for Education:

Department for Education. (2013). Get into Teaching: Basic Requirements. Retrieved June 23, 2013, from Department for Education:

Eurostat. (2013, February). Educational statistics at regional level. Retrieved June 2013, 2013, from Eurostat:

Lawson. (2013, June 21). Sentencing remarks of His Honour Judge Lawson, QC. Lewes Crwon Court, England. [Online]. Available at:

McGee, T. R., Wickes, R. L., Bor, W., & Najman, J. (2009, December). Antisocial behaviour accross neighbourhoods: Individuals and families in context. Retrieved June 26, 2013, from Criminal Research Council:

National Archives. (2011). Education Act 2011: Chapter 21 Part 3 section 13 . Retrieved June 23, 2013, from Legislation:

Office for National Statistics. (2012, December 11). 2011 Census: Ket statistics for England and Wales, March 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2013, from Office for National Statistics:

Office for National Statistics. (2013, May 15). Internet Access Quarterley Update. Retrieved June 26, 2013, from Office for National Statistics:

Ofsted. (2013). Whistleblower Hotline. Retrieved June 23, 2013, from Ofsted:

Rafee, M. (2013, March 12). School rebuilds: Inside London classroom in disrepair. (R. Chakrabarti, Interviewer)

Sheper, J., & Reisman, J. (1985). Pornography: a sociobiological attempt at understanding. Ethology and Sociobiology., 103-114.

Twohig, M. P., & Crosby, J. M. (2012). Acceptance and Commitment Therappy as a treatment for Problematic Internet Pornography Viewing. Behavior Therapy.

Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., & Finkelhor, D. (2007). Unwanted and wanted exposure to online pornography in a national sample of youth internet users. Pediatrics Digest, 247-257.

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