A Mouse Click Away: Porn's Insidious Business Model

internet cafe
(Reuters/Iqbal Tladi)

The United States is the No. 1 producer and distributor of illegal pornography. It's a multi-billion dollar industry, and you may be surprised by what's behind the hardcore business boom.

While innocently surfing the net, your child can come face to face with a sexually explicit pop-up ad.

"Even if you're not looking for it, you could be innocent," 15-year-old Zach said. "If you go on the computer, on the Internet, and you're looking for something good, it will find you."

"It is deviant," Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said. "It's aberrant. Kids are seeing content that no 12- or 13-year-old is mentally, psychologically or emotionally prepared to deal with."

A Mouse Click Away
If parents don't know what to look for or how to protect their kids online, a click of the mouse can usher in a nightmare.

Take for instance, "Rene," whose 11-year-old son is victim of Internet pornography.

"Through a minimized porn site and our computer's history button, we discovered that our precious 11-year-old son had been to hundreds of Internet pornography sites in the middle of the previous few nights," Rene told CBN News.

Rene's son became hooked.

"We have spent the last 10 years trying to keep our son away from this 'drug,' with little success, seeking counselors who could help him and being frustrated and angry that we were unable to protect our child," she said.

Immoral Cash Flow
Morality in Media President Patrick Trueman told CBN News the $120 billion porn industry blankets the Internet with millions of websites.

The young aren't the only victims. Adults also become intensely addicted while porn executives become incredibly wealthy.

"The bulk of the commercial pornography industry is a relative handful, 60 to 80 companies that control most of those commercial sites," Trueman said.

"So they're looking for revenue, and you don't just get revenue when someone buys your video or buys time on your website for either a live performance or to view a video," he said.

Simply clicking on a pop-up ad fills the pockets of the porn industry without the Internet user even buying anything.

"What you in fact get money for is the clicks," Trueman said. "It's the business model that Google has, and so the more you click the more money they make.

"Some people think, 'Well, I just look at it a little bit,'" he continued. "Yes, every time you do, the porn industry makes money.

"Then you multiply that individual by millions of people in the United States that do the same thing; the porn industry's getting rich off you," Trueman said.

Safeguarding Your Family
Internet safety experts say a strong defense at home is the only way to stop this immoral cash flow.

Families need to block content and establish safety rules for kids and adults. This can be done through filtering and monitoring software and through accountability partners.

"So that every website that that individual goes to, you get an email giving you an update of where they've been," Trueman explained. "That's accountability, and you need that."

"Know what your kids are doing online, and stay engaged with them, and recognize that you can't do it alone," Donna Rice Hughes, executive producer of Internet Safety 101, told CBN News. "You need some help."

It's timely advice, especially with research showing porn's effect on the family.

Four out of five 16-year-olds now regularly access the illicit material online, and more than half of divorces name Internet pornography as a primary reason for the breakup of the marriage.

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