Paul Douglas

The editor of '.net magazine' responds to the findings of a study of online relationships presented to the annual conference of the American Psychological Association
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The Independent Online

Dr David Greenfield has arrived at the startling revelation that the internet is the most efficient means of obtaining sexual stimulation, arousal and gratification ("Nearly half of all Net regulars have online affairs," The Independent, 5 August).

Dr David Greenfield has arrived at the startling revelation that the internet is the most efficient means of obtaining sexual stimulation, arousal and gratification ("Nearly half of all Net regulars have online affairs," The Independent, 5 August).

He goes on to warn that sexual relationships rarely remain in cyberspace. He fears that, once people have exchanged a few suggestive words over the internet, more than half move on to telephone conversations with their online partners.

These people should be locked up! God forbid that they actually meet and foster a genuine, healthy relationship. After all, it's fine to flirt after a few drinks at the pub, but throw the internet into the mix and we are looking at a worrying problem.

Dr Kimberly Young, who, coincidentally, makes her living running the Centre for Online Addiction, lends weight to the findings, claiming that a new generation of paedophiles is being created because thousands of people are developing a sexual interest in children while using their computers.

So using a computer encourages a sexual interest in children. Excuse me, but my computer has never flashed messages on to my screen persuading me of the attractions of paedophilia. Hasn't it occurred to Dr Young that these people may have had these tendencies all along? When was the last time you browsed the Net and accidentally downloaded a hard-drive full of child porn? People trade illegal goods online just as they do elsewhere, but to blame the Net is quite absurd.

Perhaps it's time for Dr Young and Dr Greenfield to take a break from the internet. Their personalities are clearly causing them to focus on the negative rather than the immensely positive contributions that the internet can deliver.

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