Online porn is big. Really big. According to figures collected by CyberAtlas:
- Growth rate of 1,800% in five years: 14 million pornography-related webpages in 1998 to roughly 260 million in 2003. An additional 28 million pages during the month of July alone.
- Nearly all (90 percent) of kids aged 8-16 have viewed porn online, mostly while doing homework.
- Internet pornography accounts for $2.5 billion of the $57 billion worldwide market.
- There are 4.2 million porn Web sites ? 12 percent of the total amount of sites ? allowing access to 72 million worldwide visitors annually.
- One-quarter of total daily search engine requests, or 68 million, are for pornographic material.
- Daily pornographic e-mails: 2.5 billion.
- Average daily porn e-mails per user: 4.5.
- Monthly peer-to-peer porn downloads 1.5 billion.
- Men accessing porn at work 20%.
- Women accessing porn at work 13%.
- Adults admitting to Internet sex addiction 10%.
There is another side to this. A lot technological innovation on the web has been spearheaded by porn sites. Not always good innovation — pop up windows, for example — but there has been good stuff: online credit card usage, for example. My worry is less that there’s a lot of porn around, but that it uses more intrusive techniques to propagate. As one reader recently pointed out, if you’re an upright, traditional citizen, opening your email these days can be an unnerving and unpleasant experience. Porn online must be fenced off, as it is in the high street, so that it doesn’t offend and scare away ordinary folk from the Internet.