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Children Receive 10 Porn Emails Per Week, Study Says

Children Receive 10 Porn Emails Per Week, Study Says
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Apr 15, 2004 8:10 AM PDT    Text size: 
UNITED KINGDOM – Critics of new anti-spam legislation claim that lawmakers have done little to stem the tide of porn emails getting through to children.

According to the developer of an anti-spam technology called KidsGuard.com, a weekly average of 10 pornographic emails get through to children via the web.

A recent KidsGuard report states that children are quickly become the central target for many email scams and inappropriate marketing campaigns, partly due to their susceptibility, and the fact that spam continues to be a major problem for the Brits.

KidsGuard claims that the average European child with a connection to the Internet can expect to receive upwards of 73 emails from strangers on a weekly basis. Among those emails, at least 10 contain pornographic material.

"Since last summer we have been monitoring the kinds of email sent by strangers to children using our service," said Andrew Shorter, managing director for KidsGuard. "It started out as a way for us to monitor the performance of our service; however, it soon became apparent very quickly that children in the UK were under siege by unscrupulous e-marketers."

Shorter believes that in many instances, email marketers have become deliberately privy to email addresses belonging to small children, although many e-marketers simply have no idea that their ads fall under the gaze of young eyes.

"Some of these organizations are in the dark about who they are spamming," Shorter said. "However, companies who send children information about porn websites, get rich quick offers, and links to sites selling drugs cannot hide behind a lack of e-marketing knowledge or commissioning unscrupulous list-sellers to promote their wares."

Shorter blames the UK's "massive" underestimation of the spam problem in his country and the so-far futile efforts of new legislation that makes spamming illegal in the UK.

"There seems to have been very little impact on the level of spam sent to UK families and children," he added.

“These numbers do not surprise me since most parents do not know how to protect their children on the Internet," Joan Irvine, executive director for Adult Sites Against Child Pornography (ASACP), told XBiz. "Plus companies that use spam as a marketing tool are not selective to whom they send emails, or they were sold bad lists. So many people, including children who are not interested in adult entertainment, are spammed with it. I hate to have to say this, but the industry did this one to themselves. It's like the fairy tale about goose that laid the golden egg."

According to KidsGuard, other big marketing emails that target children are for medical and financial services.

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