Lust-busting in cyberspace

Calling most of these internet chat rooms dens of sinful lust is akin to reviewing American Pie 2 as an erotic thriller.

Ray Crowley

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Topics Politics

We’ve recently got a new PC at home – at last, a machine that doesn’t take 30 minutes to load one internet page. We also have a 13-year-old who is much more competent as a surfer than either of my parents.

Uh oh, you think. Teenagers and the internet? This is, of course, txt mssg spk for trouble. Let anybody between 13 and 19 anywhere near a modem and your temporary internet files will be immediately transformed into a very badly written Mills and Boon.

Well, my sister does use the internet for her home work – honest. Or am I just being naive?

Incidences of young people suffering from repetitive strain injury following long nights of one-handed typing are on the up, as are warnings not to allow kids to surf the world-wide wank unsupervised.

It baffles me. I’ve seen all the time and effort that goes into other teen websites. There are numerous pages containing detailed walk-through instructions for every level in every Tomb Raider game released. There are long philosophical personal diary sites, which the young authors must have laboured over for hours. There are thousands of tribute sites created and contributed to by young people showing their dedication to a band, celebrity or movie star. Where do kids who spend half their time at school or making trouble on the streets find the time to visit rude pages as well?

I mean, you’re a 15-year-old girl and your Mum allows you an hour a day online, you have three songs to download from Napster, a new ringtone to download for your mobile, seven emails to write and a million other things even before you start your homework. Porn is not your priority.

Okay, I know that while my sister is using one window to find out about earthquakes in Turkey when my Dad is hovering in the background, she has a second window minimised that she’s using to sign up for the Nirvana official fan site. Big deal. But even if she was looking up something slightly more unsavoury, again, big deal.

I know kids do look up rude things online and use chat rooms for more than just ‘nice weather today’, but it’s not like teenagers talking about sex is a new phenomenon. They’ve probably never done it – or course they’re going to be hyper experimental. Let’s not forget children have been ‘doctors and nurses’ in Wendy houses across the world since time began. Playing at or discussing sex – even in graphic lurid detail – isn’t really anything to freak out about.

To me, kids talking dirty online is about as menacing as young boys looking at the underwear section of the M & S catalogue. Calling most of these internet chat rooms dens of sinful lust is akin to reviewing American Pie 2 as an erotic thriller.

I read in the Sunday Times about the ‘Virtual sex at internet hotel’, which teens are apparently rushing to enjoy. The usual concerns over ‘predatory adults’ were voiced, but luckily the teens quoted from the site’s chat rooms seemed far more sensible. One guy apparently warned his cyber chick that he wasn’t wearing a condom. A girl approached by one such predatory older man keyed in ‘If u r a teacher in real life, haven’t u better things to do than come here?’.

Anyway, I logged on to the site Habbo Hotel to have a look. The first screen that came up was a chat safety guide. I was grateful to learn that while in the hotel I was a ‘habbo’ and that ‘the hotel is patrolled at all times by “hobbas”, who are there to offer help and advice’. Also ‘Habbo Hotel uses technology to filter out bad language and offensive comments, replacing banned words with ‘bobba’.

Well after about 10 minutes of flashing my bobbas to get some attention I was eventually invited to fondle a fellow habbos’ large bobba. Just as it got interesting I was severely reprimanded by a lurking hobba. Apparently bobbaing between habbos wasn’t allowed in public places.

Like a thousands of other young people I thought bobba that for a laugh and left to write this column. I suppose some people would just say I couldn’t handle what yoof get up to online. Well, I’m handling it right now baby.

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Topics Politics

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