The impact of Self-Generated Images in online pornography

PhD thesis


Monaghan, A. 2017. The impact of Self-Generated Images in online pornography. PhD thesis Middlesex University Sociology and Criminology
TypePhD thesis
TitleThe impact of Self-Generated Images in online pornography
AuthorsMonaghan, A.
Abstract

This investigation seeks to evaluate the impact on individuals, and society, of Self-Generated Images (SGI’s) in online pornography. It presents an inquiry into the extent, and modes, of SGI use among a large sample of adult internet users. This form the initial platform for a theoretical analysis of the rapidly emerging topic, alongside an empirical investigation into how SGI’s are used, and criminally abused. A mixed research method strategy was consequently adopted, employing a quantitative anonymous online survey (Stage 1), qualitative face-to-face interviews with serving Metropolitan Police Service officers in the SOECA unit (Stage 2), and qualitative Skype interviews with active SGI users (Stage 3).
The thesis is divided into three main sections.
Firstly, in chapters one-to-four, the context for this study into SGI’s is explained, including the specific UK statute laws regarding licit and illicit pornographic images. Commonly used pornographic terminologies are defined. Furthermore, existent research on the topic of SGI’s/online pornography is scrutinized, and several theoretical issues are given a discourse in relation to SGI’s. An analysis of the free speech/online pornography debate is included, together with an examination of the criminal abuse of SGI’s.
The second part, chapter five, provides a rationale for the adoption of a mixed research methods strategy in pursuing the aims of this study. Many methodological issues regarding the three stages of the primary fieldwork are addressed; these include: ontology, epistemology, research paradigms and axiology, ethical underpinnings, practical considerations, and the strengths and limitations of methods chosen.
In the third section, chapters six-to-eight, the study’s key findings include a taxonomy of the six main types of SGI.
Passive SGI viewing is very pervasive, particularly among the key demographic groups of younger adults, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) and males, and may be becoming the norm. Free PornTube websites are predominately used; but also, increasingly, social network sites (SNS’s) and messaging/image sharing apps.
Most adults use SGI’s safely for sexual stimulation; however, some use them for educational and humorous purposes.
For a minority of active creators of SGI’s, disastrous personal consequences can result because of subsequent criminal abuse, including cyber-bullying/trolling, sextortion, etc.
Gay and bisexual men have highly accelerated rates of SGI use on hooking-up sites, often leading to hazardous risk taking.
Children face grave dangers from making and sharing sexualised SGI’s as online child sexual abuse (CSA), grooming and sextortion, etc. may transpire.
In the UK’s schools, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), are in a parlous state regarding the issues and dangers of SGI’s.
Finally, this inquiry provides some original insights into the areas of applying and generating theories, using mixed research methods, and the empirical findings uncovered.

LanguageEnglish
Department nameSociology and Criminology
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print09 May 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited09 May 2017
Accepted12 Apr 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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