March 14, 2019

School Assignment Google Search Pulls Up Pornographic Content

Current college student and mother of 3 boys Stephanie Strawser was working on an essay on slavery for class and did what most students do first: she Googled it.

Looking for a synonym for the word ‘bondage’ for her assignment, Stephanie was instead bombarded with pornified imagery and sexual content. The problem was so bad that she actually had to click past the first search page to even get a single appropriate answer to her original question.

Horrified, Stephanie decided to explore this problem further. Clicking through the Google-generated images, videos, and shopping tabs offered links to hardcore pornography, graphic pictures, and various sex toys for sale. These types of images should not be so easily accessible through Google, which in the past has cleaned up their search function, but since has regressed back to the old “porn in 1 click” model.

It is easy to see how pervasive pornography and graphic sexualized imagery is throughout Google. What’s especially alarming is how even innocent searches such as Stephanie’s generate such hypersexualized materials. Students and even young children with access to the Internet could very easily find themselves swamped with this pornified content when simply trying to complete academic assignments.

Stephanie reached out to NCOSE after her experience with Google’s functions. Interested in raising awareness, she wanted to share her story and participate in taking action against Google. Google was recently named to NCOSE’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List for their failure to clean up several of their products, including Google Images. Already we have heard many stories similar to Stephanie’s about the danger Google poses to children and those looking for a clean Internet experience.

While Google has made some improvements, including making the ‘Safe Search’ function more visible, they still have a long road ahead of them. Corporations like Google have a responsibility to take a stand against sexual exploitation.

If you too are interested in taking action, visit our Dirty Dozen campaign page here and ask Google to change today!

You can also take action below!

Sommer Porter

Copywriter

Sommer Porter is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her
bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in International Development. She is
passionate about solving important world issues such as sexual exploitation through
non-profit work and advocacy. She has worked with several non-profits, including
spending three months conducting a program evaluation for an organization based
in Bulgaria. She now works as a copywriter at the National Center on Sexual
Exploitation and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future.

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