Pornography on the Web is a little like crabgrass. Demand for it makes it hard to uproot, and it always seems to come back. And the literary equivalent of herbicide - censorship - can create more problems than it solves.
But reasonable controls are possible, and that's probably what the popular Internet portal Yahoo! had in mind when it restricted X-rated material available through its site recently.
Yahoo! and other Internet portals are sharply aware that the millions of people who go online each day have standards and values that reject pornography. The Internet has become a medium nearly as prominent in people's lives as TV or radio. And it, too, can't prevent its red-light district from becoming main street.
For their part, Internet users can refuse to support any website that caters to the porn industry. But companies that sell access to the Internet or provide other services can play an active role too - and the more that do, the better.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor