I had an embarrassing thing happen a few days ago and figured you'd be a good person to ask about it. I've been Google imaging porn for a while now—just when the mood strikes. (I have a couple of go-to porn sites, but looking through Google just gives me, I guess, a little more variety.) Anyway, the other day I was Google imaging what I've always been into, which is SSBBW and the like (facesitting/fat skinny comparisons, etc). One click led to another and suddenly I was on a page that appeared normal... but at the bottom it had a statement from Google saying "three images have been removed from this page that contained child abuse, report child abuse."
I've never seen that EVER. It was terrifying, to say the least. I quickly erased my Google history and preceded to have a panic attack that's been going on for days now. I guess my question is: Am I implicated in something illegal now? I talked to my wife about it, she thinks I'm going a little overboard, but it's very upsetting to me! None of my fantasies involve anything like that and I just feel sick to my stomach that I even came close to seeing something that, from my admittedly Luddite perspective, was only on the "dark web," of which I know nothing about and prefer to keep it that way.
I guess I'm done Google imaging porn forever. But, as a person who suffers from depression/anxiety, I just can't shake the feeling that I'm in some sort of trouble (not to mention just seeing the word child abuse when I'm doing a routine porn search has got me freaked out). I mean, I didn't even SEE anything incriminating... but still, I'm just very upset. What do you think, Dan?
Super Emotional About Right Clicking Habits
You're not going to be locked away and charged as a pedophile for falling down a questionable clickhole. In this circumstance, SEARCH, you didn't even see the images. Google saved you! In fact, Google actively combats child exploitation online, often through complicated techie tools which allow them to remove child sexual abuse images without humans having to do a manual review. A note from the company's official blog:
Since 2008, we’ve used “hashing” technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere. Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against the criminals.
You don't need to stop Google imaging porn, SEARC. With Google's rapidly developing technology (they announced a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund a few years ago), I'd reckon Googling porn may be a safer way to seek out SSBBW images than some of the alternatives. Of course, technology is imperfect, and there are corners of the internet filled with all sorts of horrors (just like real life). But there's a big difference between stumbling on a page with removed images and actively seeking out images of child abuse. And if you do stumble over something questionable, SEARCH, report it. Don't download it for any reason (even to report it), don't forward it for any reason (ditto). Just report that shit.
If you're not comfortable doing Google searches anymore—if it makes you anxious—there must be online porn aggregates out there that do a better job sorting/gathering SSBBW content than a plain ol' Google search ever could. There are also groups/channels/users/WTF-the-lingo-is on Tumblr or Reddit that can bring you a more curated selection.
Finally, SEARCH, I wanted to highlight something a reader sent to in January on why we should use the term "child sexual abuse images" (the term Google also uses) instead of "kiddie" or "child" porn. I know you didn't say kiddie/child porn, SEARCH, but it's reminder that bears repeating. So let's repeat it:
When I hear the words "kiddie porn" I cringe because it feels so flippant and dismissive to the horrors that I went through. "Kiddie porn" is what those who get off on the images of children being sexually abused and raped call it. The term implies—whether you mean it to or not—that it is similar to legitimate pornography (which I don't have a problem with). To me, and other survivors that I know, the term "Kiddie Porn" is painful to hear and reminds us that the worst and most humiliating moments of our lives are floating around out there being watched by a myriad of individuals who get off on our pain and suffering. It also feels like those who use the term don't see what we went through as sexual abuse or rape.
I know you have the influence to change how people talk about issues related to sexuality and for this reason I am imploring you to start referring to child pornography as "child sexual abuse images" or "child rape images." It doesn't roll off the tongue the way "kiddie porn" does—but maybe that's a good thing.