According to a BBC News report:
Most households in the U.K. will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron has announced. …
Mr Cameron warned in a speech that access to online pornography was “corroding childhood.”
The new measures will apply to both existing and new customers.
Mr Cameron also called for some “horrific” internet search terms to be “blacklisted,” meaning they would automatically bring up no results on websites such as Google or Bing.
You could spend a week reading the comments, which are quite heterogeneous.
Last week we wrote about a new Scientific American Mind cover story that makes the case for a link between internet pornography and lower cases of rape – something we’ve been skeptical of in the past, and remain so today.
A new study from researchers in Norway and the Netherlands offers evidence that suggests the opposite effect, that higher levels of broadband access actually increase the rate of sex crimes.
The question of whether the rise of Internet pornography has reduced incidents of rape is nothing new, and something we’ve covered before. Back in 2006, Levitt expressed skepticism over research done by one of his former students that suggests a link, writing at the time:
The kind of variation in the data that gives the result is that states that are quicker to adopt the internet saw bigger declines in rape. He then does a nice thing in the paper, going beyond just this one prediction to test other hypotheses, like do crimes other than rape fall with the internet (he says no) and does other sexual behavior change with the internet (he says yes). The concern is always, with this kind of approach, that there are other factors that might be driving both the adoption of the internet and the decline in rape. The challenge to those who want to refute Todd Kendall’s argument is to identify those variables. The challenge for Todd is to find other kinds of “natural experiments” that support his hypothesis.
Now comes an article in the current issue of Scientific American Mind, which posits that for “most people, pornography has no negative effects—and it may even deter sexual violence.” The article, titled “The Sunny Side of Smut,” is by Melinda Wenner Moyer, a science writer. Here’s a full version of the piece, via Moyer’s website. Though an interesting read, the article adds no new empirical evidence to the subject, and relies heavily on the data showing that rape decreased faster in states that got the Internet quicker. As Levitt pointed out, that’s not enough to go on. Read More »
On May 5, we asked readers to submit questions for Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, authors of the recent book A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire.
The response was, well… passionate. Many of the comments expressed anger over the authors’ research and resulting book. While some readers called into question the validity of their methodology, others complained that some of the terms they use in their book (“MILF,” e.g., and “Shemale”) were derogatory and insensitive. In the end, one thing was clear: when it comes to sex research, people tend to have strong opinions.
Now, Ogas and Gaddam respond, first with an opening summary of their methodology and results, and then with detailed responses to some of your questions. Read More »
Gilbert Wondracek, who (with coauthors) has investigated the economics of online porn, talks about his research in a podcast for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Read More »
Despite NBC banning sexually explicit ad content from the Super Bowl broadcast, Comcast customers in parts of Tuscon were exposed to about 30 seconds of a pornographic film which interrupted Comcast’s Super Bowl coverage on Sunday. According to The Huffington Post, Comcast suspects the work of hackers. The company is paying each of its affected […] Read More »
Bill Tancer is the general manager of research at Hitwise, which analyzes Internet trends and data ranging from American Idol predictions to which days of the week are most popular for porn searching. He has appeared on this blog quite a few times. He is the author of a new book, Click: What Millions of […] Read More »