Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cam whore

Four years ago as a college freshman I wrote a paper for a sociological deviance class on the topic of webcams as a loophole for underage pornography and the dynamic between the viewer and the cam "actress". I knew the danger because I had experienced it first hand, hosting my own show when I was in high school. In hindsight I realized this behavior was unsafe and I wondered why more parents weren't aware and more articles weren't written.

This recent New York Times article profiles one "cam whore" and explains how many teens are duped into sexual acts and nudity in exchange for friendship and gifts. The in-depth story reveals some of the most frightening parts, that the adults who watch these videos communicate with one another as to what teen is revealing the most, they steal the images and archive them and frequently sell them to porn sites. All these great new technolgies like high speed internet, video chat and paypal have facilitated this..some computers today even have cameras directly built in.

The risks of myspace have become widely publicized in the past few months but this is the first major article I've seen on "cam whores". Hopefully both the law officials and parents will start catching on to this hidden practice.

UPDATE:On April 3rd Justin told his story to the house committee on capitol hill, warning law makers that "Unless something changes, the child predators will win often enough that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of children will be lost forever"
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2 Comments:

Blogger Sharon Meraz said...

Rachel, actually, there is quite a bit of work done on this area. I can liase with you if you want more information: the idea that Webcams are being used for pornography is one that has been picked up and examined for some years now. And now, with MySpace, you see the fear all over again as parents run scared that this new social network is being utilized by child pornographers/criminals for deviant activity.

It always come down to this central idea that technologies, when developed, can be used for good or for bad. Inbuilt in technologies is the idea of interpretative flexibility: uses can translate value and create meaning through using the technology in ways not forseen by the developers of the technology. The telephone is a classic case: it was first developed for busines interests, but it became used as a communication, interpersonal medium by housewives in rural towns desperate for a social network of other wives and females in their situation.

So, I suspect this dilemma of the dual nature of technology will continue to be around for a long time. We see it now in the censoring of p2p networks.

4/02/2006 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would like to talk to you more about webcam and how that lends itself to pornography. i can give you my email, thanks.

1/03/2009 12:43 AM  

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