February 23, 2017

STATEMENT: Children Being Exposed to Pornography in School Online Library Resources

Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE

Washington DC – EBSCO Information Services offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more. In its advertising for schools, it promises “fast access to curriculum-appropriate content.” However, its Explora, Science Reference Center, Literary Reference Center, and other products, provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content.

Because of this, EBSCO is named on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2017 Dirty Dozen List.

“EBSCO is at the center of a sexual exploitation scandal,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “This K-12 online library resource provider markets itself as providing reliable educational resources. EBSCO’s family-owned brand leads school administrators, teachers, and librarians alike to trust the material it provides, yet EBSCO’s resources are awash in links to hardcore pornographic sites, and other extremely graphic sexual content. These explicit search results are not educational tools that help students learn about their bodies. Innocent searches lead to sites that normalize sexual violence, such as a link to a story depicting the rape of a woman using the barrel of a gun, as well as sites that normalize risky sexual behaviors such as public, anal, and group sex. These toxic sexual messages are being provided to young students under the guise of an authoritative academic resource.”

Videos providing proof of the easily accessible pornographic and sexually explicit content on EBSCO’s middle school systems can be found here.

“Despite the seriousness of this scandal, I am hopeful to see positive change coming soon,” Hawkins continued. “EBSCO executives contacted NCOSE on February 21 to express their concern about the sexually explicit content accessible via their databases and share that they are actively working to develop new algorithms and better filtering systems. While EBSCO will remain on the Dirty Dozen List until these improvements have been implemented system-wide and verified, I am encouraged by EBSCO’s response and welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the company to protect school children from pornographic material that steals their innocence and normalizes risky behaviors.”

Similar online library resource providers such as ProQuest and Cengage Learning are also conduits of pornographic and sexually explicit material to school children. We call on them to take immediate and swift action to stop the dissemination of this kind of content.

To learn more, and see more proof, about EBSCO, visit: http://endsexualexploitation.org/ebsco/

Further Reading