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Culture

iPod porn pains parents, employers

Attorney Eric. J. Sinrod says the potential for iPod pornography is no longer a theoretical exercise.

Adult-oriented content historically has been at the leading edge of various types of technological development, from the early days of photography, to home video players, to content available on the Internet.

Now, with new video capability on Apple Computer's iPods, pornography may push the envelope of video content available on digital content players. Of course, this development presents some issues.

It is tough enough already for parents to monitor the Internet viewing habits of their children. Many parents have home computers located in a central place, such as the living room, so that they can be sure that their children are accessing only age-appropriate content.

However, the ability of parents to monitor is seriously undermined if their children quickly can download adult content onto their iPods and then take it away from the home for easy viewing elsewhere.

Employers often undertake vigorous efforts to monitor and ensure that only work-related and otherwise appropriate content is viewed by employees in the workplace. Many employers insist that the only computers accessible in the workplace are those that belong to the employers precisely so the employers can monitor for proper content viewing.

Yet, iPods are becoming so ubiquitous and are so small, they are an easy vehicle for bringing pornography into the workplace. Employees discreetly could try to view pornography away from the watch of others. By engaging in such behavior, they often could be distracted from their true work functions, and problematically, they might contribute to an inappropriate and potentially hostile work environment to the extent the iPod porn is seen by others.

So, what are we to do?

As video makes its way onto iPods, parents can and should let their children know that they periodically will check their kids? iPods to see what video content has been downloaded. They also should check on filters that are being developed to prevent adult content from being downloaded onto iPods. Cybersitter, for example, reportedly is researching the process needed to filter pornography video content from iPods.

To the extent adult video content becomes a true iPod phenomenon, employers obviously should ban employees from viewing such content in the workplace. If that does not get the job done, employers should consider banning iPod video use in the workplace.

The Internet and handheld devices of various types bring all of us and all types of content closer together. Of course, this has many beneficial effects. Some may argue that viewing pornography on iPods is a positive development for interested adults. Without debating that issue, the truth remains that iPod porn must be dealt with at home and at the office.