Child pornography and the Internet: Perpetuating a cycle of abuse

Ethel Quayle, Maxwell Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Thirteen men convicted of downloading child pornography were interviewed with a view to understanding how these men talked about the photographs and the function such talk played in their accounts. The interviews were informed by earlier work with defended subjects and were analyzed within a discursive framework. Quotations are used from the interviews to illustrate the analysis. Six principal discourses emerged within these accounts in relation to child pornography: sexual arousal; as collectibles; facilitating social relationships; as a way of avoiding real life; as therapy; and in relation to the Internet. These are discussed in the context of previous research. The analysis illustrates the important role that the Internet plays in increasing sexual arousal to child pornography and highlights individual differences in whether this serves as a substitute or as a blueprint for contact offenses. it also draws our attention to the important role that community plays in the Internet and how collecting facilitates the objectification of children and increases the likelihood that in the quest for new images children continue to be sexually abused. Discourses focussing on both therapy and addiction serve to distance the respondent from personal agency and allow for continued engagement with child pornography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-362
Number of pages31
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002




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