In the news this week:

  • A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. The attorney’s computer ran out of space for the downloaded images, so he started storing them on CDs and DVDs that he stored in his office.
  • An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “sex” or “pornography;”
  • Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
  • The behavior exposed in this watchdog report violates government ethics rules, but illegal pornography access by federal workers is nothing new:

  • A senior executive at the National Science Foundation spent at least 331 days looking at pornography on his government computer and chatting online with nude or partially clad women without being detected. The problems reportedly were so pervasive they diverted the agency’s watchdog from its main mission.
  • National Park Service employee John A. Latschar, who oversaw the Gettysburg National Military Park, used his office computer over a two-year period to search for and view more than 3,400 sexually explicit images. He was later reassigned to an unspecified desk job.
  • Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, established a Web site that featured sexually explicit photos and video. He later acknowledged posting images, defended the content as “funny” (no, really) and said he thought the site was for his private storage. All of this while he was presiding over an obscenity trial. He later took the site down.
  • Fully one quarter of employees who use the Internet visit porn sites during the workday, according to October figures from Nielsen Online; that’s up from 23 percent a year ago. And hits are highest during office hours than at any other time of day, reports M. J. McMahon, publisher of AVN Online magazine, which tracks the adult video industry.

    How they can get away with something like this? At work? How could their time be so expendable that they can spend “up to eight hours a day” fixated on computer porn?

    Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine.

    Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the “most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.” “The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors,” Layden said. “To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it — it’s a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind.” Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever, Layden said.

    I wish I had a solution, or even a suggestion as to how to prevent young children from falling into the trap of internet porn, but I don’t. I know from personal experience that anyone surfing the net for information, especially the type young people search for, like software, gaming and social networking, are inundated with visual free samples of X-rated images and videos. It’s almost impossible to escape the call of the Siren.

    One thing I do know is that anyone who is in a relationship with a Sex Addict who uses internet porn puts their children at a greater than normal risk for exposing these children, at a very early age, to inappropriate computer use.

    I fear that the upcoming generation will include a large majority of individuals who cannot relate to each other on an intimate level and who will spend their entire lives seeking fantasy relationships that have no grounding in reality.

    Like a sailor to a siren, like a moth to a flame
    I know your love might be the death for me, but I run to you just the same
    Like a sailor to a siren, nothing’s gonna keep us apart
    Crashin’ over the wreckage of all the sailor’s broken hearts

    Lyrics from ‘Sailor to a Siren’ by Meatloaf