I have a picture of pretty, pouty little Avril Lavigne as my PC wall paper at home. Though, now that I know she’s only 17, I’m beginning to feel a little guilty and will probably take it down. Every Saturday, whilst walking through town enjoying the sights, I have this little voice in my head that occasionally pipes up with “That one’s not legal, stop checking her out.” I stop myself and pre-teens don’t even register for this kind of second glance (kids are a joy to watch for other reasons- their uninhibited enjoyment and reactions to the world around them), but I did look in the first place and for a moment my heart, and other parts, were rushing ahead of my head. It’s that pause- that understanding that, no matter how pretty she is, she’s too young for what you’re thinking- that doesn’t register with many viewers of child porn.
Still, the vast majority of kiddie porn viewers won’t do anything about their desires. Those that do would abuse anyway, the photographs for them aren’t the cause but an effect- something to display as a trophy. Governments approach this problem in much the same way as they fail to tackle drugs, locking up the end users may give you a warm tabloid glow, but it doesn’t stop the flow. It would be so much better to track down the sources and shut them down instead.