LOS ANGELES - The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection has responded to a vitriolic attack from right-wing pundit Bob Peters of Morality in Media.
Claiming that adult content contributes to the sexual abuse of children, Peters called the ASACP "a front organization for adult pornographers attempting to divert attention from their harmful and often illegal businesses and to portray themselves as responsible corporate citizens."
"The 'adult industry' is not now and never has been a friend of children," Peters wrote on MIM's Obscenity Crimes website. "Even assuming that individuals associated with ASACP are themselves concerned about the welfare of children, the organization itself serves as a front group for online commercial distributors of 'adult pornography,' and the proliferation of 'adult pornography' on the Internet poses a significant risk to children in a variety of ways, as well as to society."
ASACP CEO Joan Irvine responded this afternoon.
"Obviously Morality in Media is just against the legal adult entertainment and believes that by eliminating pornography, a multitude of society's ills would simply go away," Irvine told AVN Online. "I think we all know that is just not the case. There are a wide range of psychological issues that drives someone to commit sexual crimes, all of which have been occurring long before pornography and the invention of Internet. It's just back then, it was more hidden. So parents had to warn their child about pedophiles and taught their children not to talk to strangers or go near an unfamiliar car."
Irvine said ASACP is just as horrified as MIM by the sexual exploitation of children.
"Which is why for over 13 years, ASACP has focused on online child protection," Irvine said. "I would have hoped that MIM would have recognized the incredible strides ASACP and the adult industry has made in protecting children online rather than attacking our efforts."
Irvine noted that while MIM visited many adult sites that have the Restricted To Adults - RTA Label - sites numbering in the millions - Peters does not mention that if parental filtering was activated on home computers, one would not be able to view these sites.
"Mr. Peters obviously has spent lots of time obtaining research that supports his perspective," Irvine told AVN Online. "However, he didn't mention that there are many well-respected groups that have conducted research on the issue of cyber-safety and most have concluded that there are already numerous child protection tools and the best solution is good parenting and education."
Those groups include the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a consortium of Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology companies that joined together to identify effective tools and technologies to create a safer environment on the Internet for youth, Irvine said.
The Task Force submitted its final report in December, 2008 and its consensus was that there is no 'silver bullet,' and that good parenting and education are the keys to the solution.
"ASACP is committed to developing tools to help protect children such the child pornography reporting hot line and the Restricted To Adults - RTA Website Label," Irvine said.
"We know that parents must take an active role in protecting their children online, just as most parents would never let their children loose on the streets it is important to recognize the web can be a dangerous place and children need guidance," she added.
"That's why ASACP is reaching out to parents by providing resources and encouraging them to use parental filtering with our RTA Public Service Announcement campaign."
"Everyone needs to work together, not attack each other," Irvine said. "It is the only way to find a solution to protect children."