ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIA

The history of motion pictures as a mass medium is short, spanning less than a century. But the events that led to motion pictures go back many centuries. The first steps in this story involved solving a series of complex technical problems. A motion picture, after all, is a series of still pictures rapidly projected on a screen in such a way that the viewer perceives smooth motion. To achieve this illustration of motion, problems in optics, chemistry and even human physiology had to be overcome. Lenses, projectors, cameras and roll film had to be invented only then “the movies” were born.

contemporary mass media  ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIA

We will not go into the details of how photographic camera and film was developed as you would have definitely studied that in the core courses of the BS program, rather we’ll begin here from the time when movie cameras were underdevelopment. During 1880s and 1890s various crude motion picture cameras were underdevelopment and a number of showmen were entertaining people with motion pictures based on serially projected drawings. Then during 189s applications of film and viewing procedures virtually exploded. By 1895 greatly impressed French audiences were seeing brief motion pictures projected on a screen by August Lumière and Luis Lumière. Other applicants of the new technology soon followed and several individuals clamoured for the title of inventor of the motion picture. But it was William Dickson, assistant to Thomas Alva Edison, who perfected the motion picture camera.

Meanwhile Edison and Thomas Armat developed a practical and reliable projection system to which the called Vitascope. Vitascope had many shortcomings but its major flaw was that it projected at a wasteful 48 frames per second, whereas 16 frames easily provide the illusion of smooth motion. After that Edison decided to exhibit his moving pictures in a peep-show device that he called the Kinetoscope. By 1896, Edison was projecting motion pictures to the public in New York for the first time in America.

By 1903, both European and American producers were making “one reelers” that lasted ten to twelve minutes and told a story. One-reel films were produced on every conceivable topic from prize-fights to religious plays. In New York City alone, more than a million patrons attended the nickelodeons (theatre) each week in the early 1900s. However the young medium not only bore the stigma of low taste but was also associated with also associated with least prestigious elements of society. To shake this image and bring middle-class patrons to the box office, attractive theatre were built in the better neighborhoods and movie “palaces” opened in the business districts. By 1914, an estimated 40 million patrons attended movies every week, including an increasing number of women and children. Meanwhile, as Europe entered World War I, Hollywood had been established as the center of American movie making. The film industries in Europe had to close because of the war, leaving production and the world market American film makers. They took advantage of the opportunity, and a huge growth in film attendance occurred all over the globe. American films have been popular in the world market ever since.

Talkies

Since, 1890s inventors had tried to combine the phonograph and the motion picture to produce movies with synchronized sound. Few of their contraptions worked well. The sound was either weak and scratchy or poorly coordinated with the action in the film. But the difficulties were overcome by the mid-190s. American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) used its enormous capital resources to produce a reliable sound system. By 1926 Warner Brothers had signed an agreement with AT&T and the transition to sound was underway. Warner produced a new feature film The Jazz Singer, including sound for 1927-28 season.

Major Film Studios: The Big Five

1920-1930 was the decade between the end of the Great War and the Depression following the Stock Market Crash. Film theaters and studios were not initially affected in this decade by the Crash in late 1929. The basic patterns and foundations of the film industry (and its economic organization) were established in the 1920s. The studio system was essentially born with long-term contracts for stars, lavish production values, and increasingly rigid control of directors and stars by the studio’s production chief and in-house publicity departments. After World War I and into the early 1920s, America was the leading producer of films in the world – using Thomas Ince’s “factory system” of production, although the system did limit the creativity of many directors. Production was in the hands of the major studios (that really flourished after 1927 for almost 20 years), and the star system was burgeoning.

Originally, in the earliest years of the motion picture industry, production, distribution, and exhibition were separately controlled. When the industry rapidly grew, these functions became integrated under one directorship to maximize profits, something called vertical integration. There were eight major (and minor) studios (see below) that dominated the industry. They were the ones that had most successfully consolidated and integrated all aspects of a film’s development. By 1929, the film-making firms that were to rule and monopolize Hollywood for the next half-century were the giants or the majors, sometimes dubbed The Big Five. They produced more than 90 percent of the fiction films in America and distributed their films both nationally and internationally. Each studio somewhat differentiated its products from other studios.

The Big Five Studios Logo
1. Warner Bros. Pictures, incorporated in 1923 by Polish brothers (Jack, Harry, Albert, and Sam); in 1925, Warner Brothers merged with First National, forming Warner Bros.-First National Pictures; the studio’s first principal asset was Rin Tin Tin; became prominent by 1927 due to its introduction of talkies (The Jazz Singer (1927)) and early 30s gangster films; it was known as the “Depression studio”; in the 40s, it specialized in Bugs Bunny animations and other cartoons Warner Bros.
2. Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players (1912) and Jesse Lasky’s Feature Play – merged in 1916 to form Famous Players-Lasky Corporation; it spent $1 million on United Studios’ property (on Marathon Street) in 1926; the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation became Paramount studios in 1927, and was officially named Paramount Pictures in 1935; its greatest silent era stars were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks; Golden Age stars included Mae West, W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and director Cecil B. DeMille Famous Players-Lasky (Paramount)
3. RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures, evolved from the Mutual Film Corporation (1912), was established in 1928 as a subsidiary of RCA; it was formed by RCA, Keith-Orpheum Theaters, and the FBO Company (Film Booker’s Organization) – which was owned by Joseph P. Kennedy (who had already purchased what remained of Mutual); this was the smallest studio of the majors; kept financially afloat with top-grossing Astaire-Rogers musicals in the 30s, King Kong (1933), and Citizen Kane (1941); at one time, RKO was acquired by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes RKO

4. Marcus Loew of Loew’s, Inc., was the parent firm of what eventually became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Metro Pictures Corporation was a production company founded in 1916 by Richard A. Rowland and Louis B. Mayer. In 1918, Mayer left this partnership to start up his own production company in 1918, called Louis B. Mayer Pictures. In 1920, Metro Pictures Corporation (with its already-acquired Goldwyn Pictures Corporation) was purchased by early theater exhibitor Marcus Loew of Loew’s Inc. In another acquisition, Loew merged his ‘Metro-Goldwyn production company with Louis B. Mayer Pictures. So, in summary, MGM, first named Metro-Goldwyn Pictures, was ultimately formed in 1924 from the merger of three US film production companies: Metro Pictures Corporation (1916), Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (1917), and the Louis B. Mayer Pictures Company (1918); Irving Thalberg (nicknamed the ‘boy wonder’) was head of production at MGM from 1924 until his death in 1936; the famous MGM lion roar in the studio’s opening logo was first recorded and viewed in a film in 1928; its greatest early successes were The Big Parade (1925), Broadway Melody (1929), Grand Hotel (1932), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), A Night at the Opera (1935), The Good Earth (1937), Gone With the Wind (1939), The Wizard of Oz (1939), as well as Tarzan films, Tom and Jerry cartoons, and stars such as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Spencer Tracy

5. Fox Film Corporation/Foundation, founded in 1912 by NY nickelodeon owner William Fox (originally a garment industry worker), was first known for Fox Movietone news and then B-westerns; its first film was Life’s Shop Window (1914); it later became 20thCentury Fox, formed through the 1935 merger of 20th

contemporary mass media  ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIAMovietone Newsreels

Century Pictures Company (founded in 1933 by Darryl

F. Zanuck) and Fox; it became famous for Shirley Temple films in the mid-30s and Betty Grable musicals in the 40s.

contemporary mass media  ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIA
contemporary mass media  ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIA
contemporary mass media  ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MOTION PICTURES & NEW MEDIA

The Big-Five studios had vast studios with elaborate sets for film production. They owned their own film-exhibiting theatres (about 50% of the seating capacity in the US in mostly first-run houses in major cities), as well as production and distribution facilities. They distributed their films to this network of studio-owned, first-run theaters (or movie palaces), mostly in urban areas, which charged high ticket prices and drew huge audiences. They required blind or block bookings of films, whereby theatre owners were required to rent a block of films (often cheaply-made, less-desirable B-pictures) in order for the studio to agree to distribute the one prestige A-level picture that the theatre owner wanted to exhibit. This technique set the terms for a film’s release and patterns of exhibition and guaranteed success for the studio’s productions. [Monopolistic studio control lasted twenty years until the late 1940s, when a federal decree (in U.S. vs. Paramount) ordered the studios to divest their theatres, similar to the rulings against the MPPC – the Edison Trust.

Decline

Box office receipts held steady until late 1940s. Movies were especially popular during the war years (1941-1945). By 1946, some 90 million tickets were being sold weekly in US. Then, with extraordinary rapidity, a new medium came on the scene that was to have a devastating impact on motion pictures as a family entertainment industry. With the rise of television, the movies underwent a precipitous decline. By 1970 only about 15 million tickets were being sold during an average week. To try to draw patrons back to the theatres, movie makers turned to a variety of gimmicks and innovations. They tried increasing the use of colour, escalating levels of violence, increasingly explicit sexual portrayals, horror themes, spectacular special effects, space fantasies, and even an occasional three-dimensional production. To a very limited extent those efforts helped. In 1982, average weekly ticket sales rose to more than 22 million.

Films in sub-continent

The Lumière Brothers of France exhibited their short films in December 1895 at Grande Cafe, Paris. The following year, they brought the show to India and held its premiere at the Watson Hotel in Bombay on 7 July 1896. It was a package of 6 films viz, Entry of cinematograph, Arrival of the train, The sea bath, A demolition, Leaving the factory and Ladies and Soldiers on wheels. From 18 July 1896, films were released at the Novelty Theatre on a regular basis. Entrance tickets ranged from four anaas to one rupee.

Raja Harishchandra (1913) was the first silent feature film made in subcontinent. It was made by Dadasaheb Phalke. By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films per annum. The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara (1931), was a super hit. There was clearly a huge market for talkies and musicals; Bollywood and all the regional film industries quickly switched to sound filming.

The 1930s and 1940s were tumultuous times: like the whole world the subcontinent was rocked by the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian independence movement, and the violence of the Partition. There were a number of filmmakers who tackled tough social issues, or used the struggle for independence as a backdrop for their plots. In late 1950s, Bollywood films moved from black-and-white to colour. Lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were the staple fare at the cinema. Successful actors included Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.

Controversies

Accusations of plagiarism

Constrained by rushed production schedules and small budgets, some writers and musicians have been known to resort to plagiarism. They copy ideas, plot lines, tunes from sources Hollywood and other Western movies, Western pop hits). In past times, this could be done with impunity. Copyright enforcement was lax here. As for the Western sources, the film industry was largely unknown to Westerners, who would not even be aware that their material was being copied. Audiences also may not have been aware of the plagiarism, since many in the Indian audience were unfamiliar with Western films and tunes. While copyright enforcements are more familiar with foreign movies and music, flagrant plagiarism may have diminished — however, there is no general agreement that it has.

First local film showings

Raja Harish Chandra

Director Dada Saheb Phalke made a studio in Dadar Main Road, wrote the scenario, erected the set and started shooting for his first venture Raja Harishchandra in 1912. The first full-length story film of Phalke was completed in 1912 and released at the Coronation cinema on April 21, 1913, for special invitees and members of the Press. The film was widely acclaimed by one and all and proved to be a great success.

South subcontinent

The first film in Southern India was made in 1916 by R Nataraja Mudaliar- Keechaka Vadham. As the title indicates the subject is again a mythological from the Mahabharata. Another film made in Madras – Valli Thiru-Manam (1921) by Whittaker drew critical acclaim and box office success.

In Bengal, a region rich in culture and intellectual activity, the first Bengali feature film in 1917, was remake of Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra. Titled Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra, it was directed by Rustomjee Dotiwala. Less prolific than Bombay based film industry, around 122 feature films were made in Calcutta in the Silent Era.

The first feature film in Tamil, also the first in entire South India, Keechakavatham was made during 1916-17, directed by Nataraja Mudaliar.

Calcutta film Industry

Madan Theatres of Calcutta produced Shirin Farhad and Laila Majnu (1931) well composed and recorded musicals. Both films replete with songs had a tremendous impact on the audience and can be said to have established the unshakeable hold of songs on our films. Chandidas (1932, Bengali), the story of a Vaishnavite poet-priest who falls in love with a low caste washerwoman and defies convention, was a super-hit. P C Barua produced Devdas (1935) based on Saratchandra Chatterjee’s famous story about frustrated love, influenced a generation of viewers and filmmakers.

Cinema Starts Talking

In the early thirties, the silent Indian cinema began to talk, sing and dance. Alam Ara produced by Ardeshir Irani, released on March 14, 1931 was the first Indian cinema with a sound track.

Mumbai became the hub of the Indian film industry having a number of self-contained production units. The thirties saw hits like Madhuri (1932), Indira, M A (1934), Anarkali (1935), Miss Frontier Mail (1936), and Punjab Mail (1939).

Ardeshir Irani’s Kisan Kanya (1937) was the first color film. Sohrab Modi’s Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) was the first Techni-color film shot in India.

PAKISTAN film history from 1896-1947

Pakistan shared its film history with India (Bharat) from 1896 to 1947. Lahore produced many films and a big number of Pakistani artists debuted in this period.

The first silent film from Lahore was The Daughter of Today released in 1924 and the inaugural Punjabi or talkie film from Lahore was Heer Ranjha in 1932. (Alam Ara was released in 1931, which means Lahore was going as fast and one top film-home after Bombay in the subcontinent.

After partition – 1948

Inaugural Pakistani film. Teri Yaad (Urdu) Teri Yaad became the first ever released film but not the first film production in Pakistan. It was completed in a record time. Lahore was the third biggest film center in sub-continent – after Bombay and

Calcutta – and there were many films under production in 1947. It was released in Lahore on August 7th, 1948.

Pheray

First Silver Jubilee Punjabi Film. The first ever Punjabi and the sixth film in the list of released Pakistani films celebrated a great success in cinemas. Veteran Producer and Director Nazir got the honour to become the first Silver Jubilee film maker. He was also the only choice as hero in 1949. Pakistans first ever produced Punjabi film Pheray was a re-make of Nazirs Indian urdu/hindi film “Gaon ki Gori” (1945). It was a big musical hit and the Music Director G. A. Chishti wrote, composed and recorded six songs of this film in a single day! Chishti was also the most productive Music Director in the first 25 years of Pakistan.

Functions of Films

For the people who make films, the medium provides an avenue for expression and an opportunity to practice a complex craft. It is also a means to wealth for some or simply a livelihood for others. The end product may be frivolous and diverting; it may provide information or training; it may make a social or political statement; it may have important aesthetic qualities. Thus it may seek to amuse by providing diversion and enjoyment, to educate as many documentaries do; to influence, as in the case of wartime propaganda films; or to enrich our cultural experiences. Most often a film will have combined functions, seeking to amuse while it also enriches, informs or persuades. For the audience the film may be an escape and an engaging lesson in history, morality or human relationships. For their producers, films are a source of profit. For directors and actors films can be a means of supporting artistic values, whereas for writers, films may be a way of raising consciousness about social causes.

Film’s function is of course partly in the eye of the beholder. Most people consider vintage Walt Disney family films to be wholesome entertainment; but others interpret them as rigid ideological statements that praise an unrealistic image of America, showing artificial WASP communities devoid of social problems.

It is safe to say however that the main function of American films has been, throughout their history to entertain. In one very important respect movies differ from print and broadcast media. We refer not to their mechanical aspect but to the traditional functions inherent in their origins. The origins of magazines and newspapers were related to the functions of providing information and influencing opinions. But films grew from the traditions of both theater and popular amusements. These traditions had far less to do with transmitting information and opinion. Their central focus was always on entertainment. Films then continue those traditions and their principal function has always been to take their viewers away from the pressing issues and mundane details of everyday life, rather than to focus their attention on them.

NEW MEDIA

New media refers to forms of human and media communication that have been transformed by the creative use of technology to fulfill the basic social need to interact and transact. It is the marriage of technology, communication and design. Making or developing ideas that may take of form of future technology.

New Media is anything that is technologically on the cutting edge. This includes everything that deals with technology from iPhones, to mash ups, and real time gaming. Although the technologies for new media have been in existence for decades, it is only in recent years that these technologies have become intuitive enough non-experts to use. Improved usability, coupled with innovative uses of new media, have resulted in its increased popularity. The new media buzz is also fed by spirals of new media innovations.

Some New Media advantages are:

  • No longer must anyone who wants to individually communicate a unique message to each recipient be restricted to communicating with only one person at a time.
  • No longer must anyone who wants to communicate simultaneous messages to a mass of recipients be unable to individualize the content of the message for each recipient.

What counts as new media is often debated, and is dependent on the definitions used. However, there are a few that have been widely accepted as forms of New Media. The following are fairly firmly established as part of the remit of at least some companies that claim to deal in new media:

  • Video games and virtual worlds as they impact marketing and public relations.
  • Multimedia CD-ROMs
  • Software
  • Web sites including brochureware
  • blogs and wikis
  • Email and attachments
  • Electronic kiosks
  • Interactive television
  • Mobile devices
  • Podcasting
  • Hypertext fiction
  • Mashup (web application hybrid)
  • Graphical User Interfaces

Old media and new media

The distinction between “new media” and old media is not distinct. From 1995 to 2004, old media started to expand into producing new media, thus blurring the boundaries between the two. Much old media content was re-purposed in a new digital format, but with little substantial change, but ‘old media’ producers are now starting to make content specifically for new media audiences. In a sense, the oldest media have never died, but the tools we’ve used have. Recorded sound is content of artistic expression, CDs and records are merely delivery technologies: media to deliver the content.

The term ‘new media’ gained popular currency in the mid 1990s as part of a marketing pitch for the proliferation of interactive educational and entertainment CD-ROMs. One of the key features of this early new media was the implication that corporations, not individual creators, would control copyright. The term then became far more widely used as the mass consumer internet began to emerge from 1995 onwards. The term ‘new media’ can be traced back to the 70s when it was described more as an impact on cultural studies of different aspects such as economic as well as social, it is only within the last 15 years that the term has taken on a more advanced meaning.

Using the terms “New Media” and “Old Media” is not always clear. To the people living technologically advanced areas like the US or Japan, new media becomes old media fast. When it comes to third world countries and smaller underdeveloped countries, our old media is new media to them.

New media industry

The new media industry shares a close association with many market segments in areas such as software/video game design, television, radio, and particularly advertising and marketing, which seeks to gain from the advantages of two-way dialogue with consumers primarily through the internet. The advertising industry has capitalized the proliferation of new media with large agencies running multimillion dollar interactive advertising subsidiaries. In a number of cases advertising agencies have also set up new divisions to study new media.

Within the advertising business there is a blurring of the distinction between creative (content) and the media (the delivery of this content). Now media itself is considered to be creative and the medium has indeed become the message. In 1999 a Newsweek cover story featured the 20 “New Stars of the New Media.” The magazine claimed a handful of newspreneurs were “changing the way Americans get their news.”

Origins

New media can be seen to be a convergence between the history of two separate technologies: media and computing. These technologies both began back in the 1830s with Daguerre’s daguerreotype and Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Computers (for performing calculations) and modern media technologies (e.g. celluloid film, photographic plates, gramophone records) started to become inter-connected during the 20th Century and these trajectories began to converge by the translation of existing media into binary information to be stored digitally on computers. Therefore, new media can now be defined as “graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces, and texts that have become computable; that is, they comprise simply another set of computer data.” New media not only be defined by things you can see such as graphics, moving images, shapes, texts, and such. It is also things that can not be seen, such a WIFI connection. It is a concept, no one can see the waves in the air floating through the air. We can not forget that New media is also concept based while also being a solid object.

21st Century Media

Two significant but contrasting events heralded the beginning of 21st century media. 10th January 2000: “AOL and Time Warner merger”. Two media giants from different media backgrounds: AOL (internet based) and Time Warner (print, film, television, radio). Overnight they became a bigger entity than Coca Cola or Brazil. This is important because it demonstrates that the 21st century began with the old media conglomerates becoming larger and serving the world its media from once source, but through more avenues. It is also significant because the Internet was at its centre. AOL bought Time Warner not the other way around.

30th November 1999: (WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity) N30 was the launch of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, quickly overshadowed by massive and controversial street protests outside the hotels and the Seattle Convention Center, in what became the second phase of the anti-globalization movement in the United States.

The significant part for the media was not however the WTO meeting but the protest activities and the way they used the internet to organise, publicise and mobilise their actions. The entire event was coordinated online through the emerging “Independent Media Center”

At the same time as media corporations are merging, expanding and becoming more transcendent, the people are deciding that in the 21st century the news is too important to be left to the media. Lawrence Lessig states that this 21st century media balance is the opening up of a new kind of free media (not financially, but democratically free) against the media giants who have ownership over all the current forms of media.

New Media in the Business World

In the business world, New Media Technology work along each company to strategize branding and cobranding, assemble press release campaigns, provide and optimize one-of-a-kind quality content, create text-linking opportunities and result in advanced rankings on the search engines.

New Media Panics

The term ‘moral panic’ can be defined as an occurrence which is categorized by a stylized and stereotypical representation by the mass media, which in return develops a threat to societal values and interests (Cohen, 2004)

One form of media that is causing a wide world panic, is the use of the Internet. The Internet is a growing source of information that can be widely accessed from many points all across the world. It is this sense of easy accessibility and its varied exposure of topics that has caused many types of moral panics within society.

Moral Panics within the Internet evolved from concern that pornography was being widely exposed to children. Pornography is one central issue that is created out of moral panics and the use of the Internet. Traditionally, the Internet was used by scientists, academics and engineers to send emails and share information. Today, the internet is used not only for these things, but is used for the downloading of music, the forming of virtual communities, and the establishment of news groups. With this in mind, there continues to be this contradiction of the internets original purpose, in comparison with its current perceived purpose, in which anyone can use and gain information from the Internet (2004)

This issue of indecent exposure to users brings on the moral panic concern of behaviours. This can be associated both with children and adults. The information content that is apparent on Internet sites is seen to change the behavioral patterns of those who participate, whether it is with online games, or through chat rooms. It can promote psychiatric problems, homicide, and even suicide (Miller, 2002)

Constant usage of the Internet has also created a moral panic within society. The Internet seems to involve people within its cyberspace, creating an online identity for the user. However, it also decreases the users physical identity amongst their families, peers and co-workers. People tend to become isolated from the rest of the world as they continue to live in a fantasy of unreal identities. This is causing concern within society as people are thought to lose their sense of reality, interaction, and their personal identity.

There are many communities that are developed out of the Internet that can cause concern for a moral panic within society. The Internet is being used as a medium for such groups to be able to achieve successful and easy communication. Being able to be part of an online community may seem harmless, however, it can still be used as an opportunity for those negative groups who want to secretly plan and plot desired tasks. This can include communities who create bombs, start riots or protests, or even those who develop viruses to send to computers. This may not be a major concern at this present time, but these types of communities do exist within cyberspace society, and can affect people’s behaviours and actions.

The politics of moral panics and the Internet involves the idea of censorship. Within schools, sites can be banned from being accessed by students, mostly pornographic sites. While this may reduce some panic within society, it does not fully decrease the exposure and accessibility of negative websites to children or adults. Users can still locate such sites as there is no constant monitoring within schools or at home, this proving that children and adults can still be exposed to the many types of unwanted information (2004)

There is a negative future for the Internet if society keeps allowing itself to be taken over by this sense of a moral panic. Governments, businesses, schools and families can possibly desert the Internet, and find other possible alternatives. There continues to be the preference for networks that are clearly signed and free from hostile, threatening or unpleasant material or activities. (Thompson, 1998, p.138)

Moral panics and the Internet is just one issue concerning the new media technology industry. It is important to understand this issue as it can affect not only yourself, but your loved ones. The internet can change behaviours, introduce innocents to new and dangerous ideas, all the while starting an upright panic within society. Associated issues include Video Games, Virtual Communities, Computer Technology and Children, and Online Censorship.

The information content that is apparent on Internet sites is seen to change the behavioural patterns of those who participate, especially in concern with children. There is the issue of indecent exposure in regards to online games, chat rooms, and information content on the Internet. All these issues are creating a moral panic within society. However, is it really the Internet that is to blame, or more the lack of parental guidance and support with children?

Much of the present concern about the Internet centres on the perceived risks posed to children, through exposure to undesirable or controversial on-line content (Spalding, Gilding, & Patrick, 1996, p.14). It is this factor that is putting an increasing amount of blame onto the Internet, as the source of corruption amongst teenagers and children (Wilkins, 1997).With the Internet containing much information on a variety of topics, it is no wonder that the Internet is receiving much designated blame on the corruption of children. One of these topics that is causing great concern is the widely held belief that pornography is easily accessible to all children who are using the Internet (Wilkins, 1997)

Another issue that has caused fear amongst society is the retrievance of instructions on how to make bombs from the Internet. With further research, one will find that the source for obtaining this information comes from a book published in 1971 The Anarchists Cookbook (2004). While information on creating bombs was around long before the introduction of the World Wild Web, people are tending to blame the Internet for their children’s behaviours just because the information is more easily accessible. So the question that needs to be asked is the Internet really causing a panic within society in regards to the safety and well being of children, or is it just the sharp reality that parents need to be more aware of their children’s actions?

Internet pornography

Internet pornography and its accessibility to children has been perhaps the longest-running moral panic of recent times (Grayson, 2004). It is this widely held belief that has caused great concern within society.

Cyber-porn is a real threat to families and has quickly become an alarming issue for parents who want to protect their children. Any child who clicks on a home computer can see lurid images of loveless sex, sexual positions, and rape (1995)

Other lurid images that can be found on the Internet include pedophilia, bondage, sadomasochism, urination, defecation, and sex acts with barnyard animals (1995). This sums up the type of pornography that is being exposed to users of the Internet.

The introduction of the Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995 has minimized some aspects of pornography on the Internet; however, not all viewers are safe from this exposure. Pop-ups for all sorts of sexual acts and favours still do exist and are uncovered for all to see, even without purposely looking for it.

While there may be a lot of pornographic content available on the Internet that people of all ages can access, there is one reason that may put a concerned parents mind at ease in regards to this issue. This has to do with the fact that many people are not willing to go to the trouble and expense of putting pornography up on the Internet and then just let anybody have access to it without some kind of compensation (2004). Like every other business, money is the driving force behind those people who display and post pornographic sites. There is no reason to provide free entertainment, especially if there are no beneficial aspects.

So while action has taken place in order to minimize pornographic images and websites, there will always be the notion that pornography does exist within a virtual reality, and that it can still be easily accessed.

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