'Pornification' of Australia Sparks Call for Investigation

Anne Winter
SYDNEY, Australia — A study completed by Nielsen//NetRatings and Internet analysis firm NetView has shown a 23-percent increase in online adult traffic in just one month, and the number of adult shops has risen to 900 — a 400-store jump in four years.

First reported by the Sydney Herald, the study's results show that during the first quarter of the year, 4.3 million Australians visited an adult website at least once, which accounts for 35 percent of all Internet users in the country. Of that total, one-third were women.

The study also found that the wealthier the Internet user was, the more likely he or she was to visit an adult site.

Local psychologists and relationship counselors fear the growth of porn use online is responsible for most relationship problems due to men becoming compulsive clickers. Others say that pornography is detrimental to sex lives and women's self esteem, despite the apparent increase in women's acceptance of it.

Fiona Patten, Chief Executive of Australian adult retail body Eros Association, said she believes women to be the next consumer market for the adult industry.

But Helen L'Orange, the former heard of the Office of the Status of Women, has called for a government inquiry into the "pornification" of society, examining the effects that the online adult world has had on relationships.

L'Orange said the goal of the inquiry would be merely to educate and raise awareness of the issue, and not to censor the Internet.