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May 16, 2000 12:59pm
Web Skews Sex Education, Psychiatrist Warns
Source: Reuters
by: Michael Conlon

(CHICAGO, IL) -- A rising tide of Internet pornography is creating a growing public health problem in sex education, a psychiatrist said on Tuesday.

``I'm very concerned about children,'' Donna Woods of the University of Michigan said, adding that easily accessed pornography was portraying sex as a public event, disconnected from human commitment. It also offers a smorgasbord of aberrant behavior that without such suggestions might become ''self-extinguished,'' she said.

``There is going to be a be a big public health issue ... explaining (to children) what sex is and isn't,'' Woods told a session at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

She said she had treated a teen-age boy who had become a zoophile through various Web sites that caused him to spend 16 hours a day on the Internet without eating or bathing. Zoophiles say they favor companionship with animals that can include unforced sexual contact.

Woods said her patient told her that zoophilia today was where homosexuality was 20 years ago and before long could be considered normal, accepted behavior.

Woods said she has concerned that much Net pornography perpetuated myths about women, particularly on the subject of rape.

``A man forces himself on a woman, and by the end she's begging for more,'' she said.

Woods said an estimated 2 million sexual addicts prowled the Internet in the United States alone and by one calculation, 20 percent of all electronic commerce was pornography-related.

``Computers should not be in a child's room, where they can use them through the night,'' she said, adding that children should be taught that the anonymity provided by the Internet can mask the identify of predators.

Two psychiatrists from Portland, Oregon, Keith Cheng and Laura Proud, told the same session that the number of Internet hate sites had grown dramatically in recent years.

Those that promote white supremacy often target children with cartoons, music and games such as a white-power version of ''Doom'' that turns the game into a black-hunting expedition, Proud said.

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