LOS ANGELES—Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon’s resident porn beat writer, published an article today in which she suggests that maybe "we" adult are as worried about our own porn addiction as our kids' because so many of us are asking filtering companies to keep our passwords for us. That’s actually her literal conclusion, posed rhetorically: “Was it ever really the kids that we were worried about?”
The basis for her insight is the claim by the three companies that they get a lot of adults asking them to hold on to the passwords so that they are unable to unlock the filters themselves to get to the goods. Without actually providing any data, she simply takes the companies at their word.
Dave Matthews, founder of PageClean, a mobile filtering product, said, “I started getting customers asking me to lock their phones and not send them the password.”
Another one was NetNanny, whose president and CEO, Russ Warner, told her, “There are many adults who wish to protect themselves from pornography. And we have requests almost weekly from adults who want our customer service reps to manage their password. We also know that many of our customers are women who wish to filter out porn for their husbands and boyfriends.”
Then she cites a blog post from internet filter Optenet, which stated, “We discovered that many adults were buying parental controls to install on their own computers. But then those adults realized that if they installed the web filter software themselves, they would know the password and every time they felt tempted, they could simply use the password to turn the filter off.”
However, she neglects to include other parts from the Optenet post ,including its opening: “Do you need to protect YOURSELF from online pornography and gambling? This is an embarrassing question. But sadly, one more and more adults today need to ask themselves. That’s the ‘bad’ the Internet has brought along with all its good. The instant and free access we all have to so much problem content. ... So if you are addicted to online porn or can’t stop gambling online, at least you should know—you are not alone. Now, it’s time to do something about it. The question is what?”
The “what” of course is for them to purchase filtering software. The blog post, titled “Need to block yourself from Pornography or Gambling?” is just a marketing pitch, which is fine—if they need to put food on their tables by pushing porn addiction so they can sell something that utterly fails to address the underlying problem, that's the American Way—but Clark-Flory should know better than to base an entire theory of porn addiction and adult filter usage on the say-so of companies whose business model is built on perpetuating the idea of an epidemic of addiction. That's just doing their job for them.