Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Ron Jeremy says violent video games 'worse' than porn

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Screenshot from Modern Warfare 2, Activision/Blizzard
Mr Jeremy hit out at games like Modern Warfare 2

Violent video games have "a much bigger negative influence on kids" than pornography, a leading porn star has claimed.

He said parents should be more worried about the harmful effects of such games.

Mr Jeremy's comments were made at a session called the Great Porn Debate during the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas.

His comments angered gamers, who accused him of "ignorance".

Mr Jeremy's appearance at CES in Las Vegas caused some raised eyebrows.

He took time away from the Adult Entertainment Expo, which takes place in Las Vegas at the same time as the annual tech fest, to speak out on behalf of his profession and promote some practical tools.

"Studies have found that violent video games are a much bigger negative influence on kids," Mr Jeremy said.

'Very disappointing'

The remark has caused quite a stir in the games world.

"It's rather hypocritical behaviour and it doesn't speak up for pornography's merits by merely saying "something else is worse, don't look at us.

"Very disappointing behaviour from a man who should know better," said Jim Sterling of gaming news blog Destructoid.com.

The pornography industry has a reputation for being rather technologically advanced
Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter

Andy Chalk at video gaming site escapistmagazine.com said Mr Jeremy's remarks cannot be completely ignored.

"While I do think he's (Mr Jeremy) working from a platform of ignorance, I'm not quite as certain that the sentiment is entirely wrong.

"I wouldn't want my kids (the hypothetical ones, that is) playing Modern Warfare 2 or becoming overly familiar with Ron's body of work, but is it really reasonable to say that one is significantly worse than the other?" asked Mr Chalk.

Mr Jeremy also urged parents to play their part in preventing children from accessing adult websites.

He said the industry already does all it can to protect youngsters.

"Parents can block this stuff and need to stop blaming porn for a bad case of parenting," Mr Jeremy told BBC News.

"Parents should watch what their kids are doing online and take some responsibility. Don't blame us. We have disclaimers, age notifications and software blockers. We are doing our bit," said Mr Jeremy.

That view was backed by a critic of the $10bn (£6.2bn) adult entertainment sector.

"Parents are not talking about this with their kids enough," said Craig Gross, who is a former pastor and has set up a website to help people addicted to pornography.

"We have to have these conversations because for the most part, kids are smarter than their parents when it comes to technology. Parents need to do more parenting and be more proactive on these issues," added Mr Gross.

"Safer online"

Mr Jeremy was busy promoting the practical tools designed to prevent children from accessing pornography.

Ron Jeremy in Black t-shirt
Mr Jeremy in black t-shirt was a bit hit with techies at CES

"Because we make porn, we are the bad guys. We don't want kids to watch porn but yes we recognise that it happens. We are not in favour of that," said Mr Jeremy who has appeared in over 2000 films.

Now the man voted America's top porn actor by the Adult Video Network, has put his weight and influence behind a number of software blocking tools.

These include InternetSafety.com's Safe Eyes family internet management software which will automatically block access to online pornographic content.

"We're not just all about restrictions and rules. We want the family to talk about being safer online," said Aaron Kenny, the chief technology officer for InternetSafety.com.

Coming to the aid of the porn industry is an unlikely figure in the shape of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, ASACP, a non-profit group that works to enforce anti-child pornography laws.

"The porn industry has gotten a bad rap," Joan Irvine, the chief executive officer of ASACP told the BBC.

"They are doing so much in order to develop technology or using our systems because they don't want kids out there watching porn, or being in it. They recognise that it isn't good for business and would lead to more scrutiny so they police themselves well," added Ms Irvine.



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