Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

September 12, 2012

No surprise to find kids wading into digital swamp

No parent should be shocked that five high school football players hired prostitutes while on a road trip to North Carolina last week.

Nor is it especially surprising that the little johns were from football powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. Religion and prestige are rarely shields from temptation and stupidity.

What's new in this old-as-time story is that today, thanks to smartphones and the nearly complete submersion of the sex trade into the digital swamp, ordering three prostitutes to your hotel room is as easy as ordering a pizza.

This teen boy fantasy is closer to "Weird Science" than "Risky Business."

"The Internet is the new street corner, and I tell everyone that going down to 14th Street" — the street once known for prostitution in the District of Columbia — "is nothing more than going to your browser now," said Sgt. Ken Penrod, a vice detective with the Montgomery County, Md., police.

The bold step of ordering up a prostitute on an iPhone often begins as early as middle school, when legions of boys start downloading porn.

Remember when the quest for certain issues of National Geographic or the hunt for Uncle Fred's Playboy stash used to define porn exploration?

Now that the family computer and its Net Nanny aren't the only way to get online, the access to porn and paid sex is in the palms of our children's hands, 24-7, giving the "Droid Does" slogan enhanced meaning.

Mobile porn has become so prevalent among teens that there is even a nonprofit group, Fight the New Drug, and a micro-industry of treatment camps aimed at teens who have a crippling addiction to it.

For teens ogling mobile porn regularly, the next logical step is to act out that fantasy and click on the many ads urging viewers to order up live sex.

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