Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

* Sexually Explicit Materials and the Internet, by Douglas Birsch

Sexually Explicit Materials on the Internet

Sexually explicit material available on the Internet takes a variety of forms. One form is digitized images which are created with graphics software or by scanning an existing picture and storing the image in the computer. These images extend from pictures of naked women to hard-core pornography. The range of pictures includes images preferred by heterosexuals as well as those which appeal to homosexual tastes. Another form of material available on the Internet is animated sequences created by graphics software. The animated sequences are a series of related images that appear on the computer monitor. They are similar to a short cartoon with the sequence looped so that it plays over and over. A third type of adult material is text. Sexually explicit text may appear in the form of messages posted to bulletin boards, text files available for downloading, or "hot chat." The last form is sexually explicit text communicated in real time. It is this real-time characteristic that distinguishes "hot chat" from other sexually explicit text. ^1 The recent, controversial Carnegie Mellon study of online sexually explicit material found 917,410 pictures, descriptions, short stories, and film clips available on the Internet. [Ed. Note: This study was subsequently widely discredited.] ^ 2

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