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Simulated pornography is defined as a small fraction of pornography involving minors that is produced without the direct involvement of children in the production process itself. It is a significant legal issue surrounding the criminalization of child pornography.

Forms of such pornography

Forms of such pornography include: modified photographs of real children, non-minor teenagers made to look younger (age regression), and fully computer-generated imagery[1] or adults made to look like children.[2] Drawings or animations that depict sexual acts involving children but are not intended to look like photographs may also be considered by some to be child pornography.


An example of this is the hentai sub genre known as lolicon, which has been the subject of much controversy regarding impact on child sexual abuse [3][4] The reported link between the use of child pornography and child abuse has been used to justify the prohibition of sexual depictions of children, whether their production involves child abuse or not.[5]

Virtual child pornography

Realistic virtual child pornography is legal in the United States unless it is also judged to be "obscene" under a Miller test: prurient, patently offensive, and lacking serious value.[6][7][8] In Germany, it is punishable by up to five years in prison.[9][10] In the Australian state of Victoria, it is illegal to publish imagery that "describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a minor engaging in sexual activity or depicted in an indecent sexual manner or context".[9][10] This has been recently tested with Simpsons images.[11] The allowance of virtual child pornography in the U.S. has had international consequences. For example, French virtual child pornography producers have moved their "'wares' to servers in the United States because of its wider free speech protection," (Eko).

Arguments for simulated child pornography

1. Virtual child pornography could reduce specific child abuse.

Some studies claim that pornography actually reduces abuse, because it gives pedophiles an outlet to fulfill their desires.[12][13][14]

2. Virtual child pornography could decrease the illegal child pornography market.

This argument implies that because virtual child pornography is legal it will act to substitute illegal child sexual images, because the legal costs of virtual child pornography are much lower.

3. It is a "victimless crime".

As no real children are involved in the production of Virtual child pornography, it is argued that no harm has been done.

Second Life controversy

In 2007, the virtual world online computer game Second Life banned what its operator describes as "sexual 'ageplay', i.e., depictions of or engagement in sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children".[15][16] The ban prohibits the use of child-like avatars in any sexual contexts or areas, and prohibits the placement of sexualized graphics or other objects in any "children's areas" such as virtual children's playgrounds within the game environment.[16] Those Second Life residents who are caught ageplaying are given this warning:

“Dear Second Life Resident: Linden Lab would like to inform you that your land or business is possibly not in compliance with Second Life’s Community Standards. The depiction of sexual activity involving minors may violate real-world laws in some areas, and the Second Life community as a whole has made it clear that it views such behavior to be broadly offensive. Linden Lab chooses not to allow the advertising or promotion of age play or related activities in any public forum — including in-world textures, classified ads, the Second Life forums, or parcel descriptions. Advertisements, promotions, or descriptions of such activities must be removed to avoid account sanctions. Any account asserting an age that does not meet Second Life’s minimum age of eligibility will be closed.” (Duranske 2008).

Second Life is not the only community facing virtual child pornography allegations. In 2007, World of Warcraft banned the guild “Abhorrent Taboo”, because the guild allowed avatars to engage sexually with role-playing minors and real minors. (Duranske 2007).

See also


Brey, P., "Virtual Reality and Computer Simulation," in Himma and Tavani (2008), pp. 361–384.

  1. Virtueel filmpje geldt ook als porno, AD, March 11, 2008
  2. Paul, B. and Linz, D. (2008). "The effects of exposure to virtual child pornography on viewer cognitions and attitudes toward deviant sexual behavior," Communication Research, 35(1), 3-38
  3. Tony McNicol (2004-04-27). "Does comic relief hurt kids?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  4. "'Rorikon' trade nurturing a fetish for young females". Japan Today. 2004-03-22. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  5. Government of Canada (1984). Report of the Committee on Sexual Offenses against Children and Youth, Vols. 1-11, and summary. Government of Canada, Department of Supply and Service as "Badgely Report; Cat. No. J2-50/1984/E, Vols. 1-11, H74-13/1984-1E, Summary".
  6. "Fact Sheet PROTECT Act". Department of Justice. April 30, 2003.
  7. "Full Text of S.151 - PROTECT Act (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)". Library of Congress.
  8. " S. 151--108th Congress (2003): Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003". (database of federal legislation). Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Chris Johnston (2007-05-10). "Brave new world or virtual pedophile paradise? Second Life falls foul of law". The Age (Melbourne).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eko, L. S. (2006, Jun) Regulation of Online Child Pornography Under European Union and American Law. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Dresden International Congress Centre, Dresden, Germany Online Retrieved 2008-04-22
  11. Anderson, Nate (December 08, 2008). "Cowabunga! Simpsons porn on the PC equals child pornography". ars technica. CondéNet Inc.. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  12. Rape, Porn and Criminality: Political Truth on Trial, June 30, 2006
  13. Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan , January 22 , 1999
  14. Statistics Show Drop In U.S. Rape Cases, June 19, 2006
  15. Benjamin Duranske (May 23, 2008). "New Supreme Court Opinion Discusses Virtual Child Pornography Law; Linden Lab’s 2007 Ban Clarified".
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ken D Linden (November 13, 2007). "Clarification of Policy Disallowing “Ageplay”".

Duranske, B. (2008, May 23). New Supreme Court Opinion Discusses Virtual Child Pornography Law; Linden Lab's 2007 Ban Clarified. Virtually Blind. Retrieved from [1]

Duranske, B. (2007, May 9). Second Life Child Pornography Allegations Draw International Press Attention. Virtually Blind. Retrieved from [2]

Eko, Lyombe. "Regulation of Computer-generated virtual Child Pornography under American and French Jurisprudence: One Country’s Protected “Speech” is another’s Harmful Smut." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 Online <.PDF>. 2009-12-04 Retrieved from [3]


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