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The Attack

$325,521.64. The University of North Carolina was awarded this money in a suit against a site displaying explicit material while infringing on the school's trademark. Pornography is everywhere, and its makers will do anything to make a profit. Not the least susceptible to its affects are college students. They are, as in the UNC case, often portrayed as objects of sexual desire. In a more widely publicized example they are portrayed as "Girls Gone Wild." With these negative influences telling students this is the way they should be, it is not surprising when they lose sight of a moral foundation. When students are portrayed as sexually promiscuous, many begin to wonder why they should be otherwise. As Dr. Rollo May reports, some students find it "too much trouble to say no." Yet, students are the future of our world. If they lose touch with morality, other people will follow.

The Battle Inside Students

Around the university, pornography often pops up in surprising places. Mary Pedersen, a nutrition-science professor at California Polytechnic State University, discovered this in the worst of ways when she went to make a PowerPoint presentation. Rather than the academic material she anticipated, she found sexually explicit ads and material from pornography Web sites. At Duke University, an ordinary group of students began meeting together and discussing the effects pornography had on them. Many of these students could recall very early exposure to pornography, even trading the images they found like baseball cards. They concluded that these images' effects were only negative, notably making it hard for them to find genuine relationships rather than seeking their pornographic fantasies. The images these students had built in their minds were no longer compatible with reality.

A Blurred Perspective

The saddest part may be the uncertainty students feel about pornography. Modern media has so blurred the definition that many students don't even know what pornography is. While one study of college students found that almost all of them considered movies with sexually explicit scenes pornographic, only 10% of the students rated pictures of nude adults as definitely pornographic, while 20% believed it was probably or definitely not pornographic. The other 70% weren't sure at all. Students cannot afford to build their standards by what popular culture is teaching them. Popular culture is too often driven by the stretching and tearing of moral and social standards and is almost never working to build them.

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