Tag Archives: child protection

Vanishing Books

I have written previously about the pulling of erotic titles by the retailer WH Smiths and Smith’s supplier, Kobo due to erotic (adult) titles being found on the retailer’s website. The concern was that children might access such material. Obviously children (in the UK those under the age of 18-years-old are so classified) should not be accessing erotic material. There does, however appear to be something like a witch hunt developing with authors not falling into the adult genre having their books pulled. See, for example the comments accompanying this post, http://www.serenajanes.blogspot.ca/2013/10/now-for-something-sweet.html#comment-form). I haven’t read any of the author’s works, however the short extract provided in the forgoing post does not, on the face of it appear to warrant her book being withdrawn from sale.

As I mentioned in my previous post regarding this issue adult fantasies (those concerning consenting adults) ought to be available for adults to view and purchase. Rape and incest fantasies are certainly not my cup of tea. However I am not aware of any convincing evidence that works of this nature lead to the commission of crime. In the absence of such proof I can see no valid reason for prohibiting their sale as certain UK newspapers appear to be agitating for. In short fantasy is precisely that, fantasy as opposed to reality and people should be free to fantasise provided that their fantasising remains exactly that, fantasising.

High Street Retailers Selling Pornographic E-Books

An article in today’s Mail On Sunday reveals that the high street retailer, W H Smiths has been stocking e-books with such titles as “Pregnant with Daddy” alongside childrens books. The Mail also reports that Amazon and other retailers stock similar works. Following The Mail’s investigation Smiths has removed the titles in question and apologised to it’s customers. Apparently Smiths receives an automated feed from it’s e-book supplier, Cobo with whom they are now working to ensure that titles of this nature never appear on Smith’s site again.

Books of an erotic nature should not be accessible to children and retailers should take steps to ensure that those classified as children are not able to access them. However the question as to whether we are in danger of working ourselves up into a moral panic arises. Certain fantasies such as the incest taboo are unsavoury but provided they remain purely in the realm of fantasy ought society or the state to intervene and prohibit them? For something to be prohibited should it not first be demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that the thing being banned does positive harm? In the civil service such an approach is called evidence based decision making (I.E. one weighs the evidence cooly and without bias prior to taking decisions). If one applies this way of thinking to the matter in hand books which contain incest fantasies would be prohibited if having weighed up all the available data it could be demonstrated that such works cause individuals to engage in incestuous acts.

When reading the article I couldn’t help wondering whether where Nabakov’s Lolita to have been written today would The Daily Mail be calling for it to be banned as a “dirty book”. I wonder?

Obviously we are under an obligation to protect young children from inappropriate material, however in performing this vital task we need to take care that we don’t over react by going down an authoritarian road.

For The Mail’s article please visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456651/WHSmiths-vile-trade-online-rape-porn-Bookseller-apologises-sales-sick-ebooks-revealed.html

Are Children Are Safe

Following the publication of the report of the independent enquiry into the effects of pornography on children the government had legislated to stem the online scourge. All new internet customers now had to opt-in to receive adult material. Failure to tick the box stating that the account holder was happy to access such content meant that the Internet Service Provider’s filters would prevent the customer or anyone else using their connection from encountering pornography.

“I’m so glad that we don’t have to worry about Ian looking at filthy images. They degrade women turning us into sex objects. Its no wonder that so many boys think that they are entitled to have any girl they please when they can do so, at least virtually with a click of the mouse. Well they could until this new legislation stopped all that. It’s a victory for the sisterhood” Louise said with a smile. “You did remember not to tick the box didn’t you darling?”

“Yes Lou” Mike said holding back the urge to ask his girlfriend whether she thought that he was stupid, of course he had remembered not to tick the box. As a new man he was just as committed as Louise to stopping the objectification of women

Ian loved his new laptop. It was a top of the range Toshiba. He could do his homework on it but that was a minor plus. The icing on the cake was the amazing graphics display which was great for gaming. The people in the game really came to life, they seemed almost real as they flickered and danced across the screen.

Ian padded on bare feet to his bedroom door. Opening it a crack he listened. The sound of muffled voices reached him. His mum and dad must be in the living room. Returning to the computer Ian typed into the address bar a domain ending with dot.ru. Having entered he clicked on the log in screen and input a Hotmail address along with his password. It wasn’t his usual email, at least not the one which his parents new about. It was used solely for the purposes of accessing this site.

Once logged in Ian went to the site’s search box and began his research. Soon the screen was full of couples cavorting in every conceivable place and position.

“Dinners ready” his mum shouted.

“Just a minute” Ian shouted back. He closed the site and switched to a top of the range history deletion programme.

“It will get cold” his mum yelled from the bottom of the stairs.

The programme had done its work. Ian switched off the computer, opened his bedroom door and took the stairs two at a time.

“You look flushed darling” his mum said.

“Really, it must be the central heating mum. Its so hot in my bedroom”.

“Just turn down the radiator, your not helpless”! Louise said with an exasperated look in the direction of Mike which said “children, who would have them”!

“Yeah, yeah” Ian said taking a seat at the dining table. He just hoped that his parents didn’t notice the payment to the anonymous proxy service when the credit card statement arrived.

(Author’s note: proxy services allow the user to browse anonymously so a person based in the UK can browse while using an IP address on the other side of the world. The proxy acts as a cloak so what the user’s Internet Service Provider sees is a mundane website with an address such as proxify.literature rather than the content the user is accessing while cloaked by the encrypcion provided by the proxy server).