“The internet is evil! Burn your modems! Destroy your routers! If you continue allowing this electronic bastard free access to your house your children will be molested in the privacy of their own bedrooms!” cries Norman Slipper, a forty-six year old Maidenhead father of two, who is leading the latest anti-internet campaign. “You might just as well put a fluorescent sign in your window saying ‘Fresh Young Arses Here’ and have keys cut for every passing sex offender!” Slipper has already taken an axe to his childrens’ PC live on his local BBC news programme and is urging other concerned parents to follow suit. Neighbours in his street have shown their support by simultaneously hurling their laptops from upstairs windows, whilst two fellow campaigners were recently arrested in Guildford for attempting to dig up and sever cables carrying broadband to homes in a residential street. Slipper started his campaign after discovering that his children were being subjected to constant sexual harassment whilst online. “If they were spending all their time browsing porn sites or hanging out in sex chat rooms, I could understand it,” he says, “but my daughter only uses social networking sites like Facebook, yet has been bombarded with filth from complete strangers!”

Indeed, Slipper’s sixteen year old daughter Norma’s Facebook profile – where she describes her relationship status as ‘Up for it’, sex as ‘Lots’, says she is interested in ‘Anal’ and includes several pictures of herself and her friends ‘mooning’– is overrun with lewd and suggestive comments from ‘friends’, many of whom appear to have ‘poked’ her recently. Similarly, his fifteen year old son Norman Junior’s MySpace page, where he lists ‘wanking’ and ‘gay porn’ amongst his chief interests and states he is there for ‘a good spanking’, is dominated by comments from ‘friends’ propositioning him for sex. The majority of these four hundred plus, predominantly male and extravagantly moustachioed, ‘friends’ represent themselves with icons consisting of pictures of themselves in bondage gear. “It’s quite outrageous,” says Slipper. “Young people should be able to share their interests with like-minded individuals without being subjected to this sort of thing!” It isn’t just the young who have suffered this kind of harassment, Slipper himself claims to have fallen foul of the internet perverts. “I kept getting these unsolicited e-mails about penis enlargement,” he explains. “Obviously, they were quite inappropriate – my penis is well above average length. When I sent them pictures to prove this point, I found myself on the receiving end of all manner of vile suggestions from strange men as to what I could do with it!”

It isn’t just Slipper, who denies that he and his family have in any way been naïve when interacting with other web users, who believes that the net is being taken over by perverts and sex maniacs. “It isn’t just social networking sites which are infested with these deviants,” says thirty-six year old clerical worker Tilda Boot. “You can’t even use instant messaging services without suffering virtual sexual assaults. Only the other day I was having a web cam chat with a friend when another acquaintance logged on and waved his genitals at us in close up, and logged off!” The acquaintance in question subsequently told Boot that his lap top had been stolen and the genitalia weren’t his. “I’m inclined to believe him,” she says. “It was a far bigger cock than I’d imagined he had.”

Virtual communities such as Second Life have also been affected by the apparent upsurge in on line sex offending. “The whole place is in danger of being swamped by perverts hiding behind the anonymity of their avatars,” opines Second Life user Della Plimsoll. “They’re probably perfectly respectable professionals in real life, but they’ve created virtual identities as raving sex offenders!” Indeed, Plimsoll herself has been flashed several times whilst in Second Life; her avatar approached by those of complete strangers, who then expose their virtual private parts to her. “They’d all created avatars with massive penises and magnificent erections,” she note. “In real life they’re probably badly out of shape, balding, middle aged men suffering from erectile dysfunction. In fact, they might not even be men at all!” Some users have encountered even more serious sexual misconduct than indecent exposure in the virtual world. “I was minding my own business, strolling through an on line park, when this male avatar came running up and grabbed my avatar’s breasts and squeezed them, before running off,” claims Suzy Sandal, a thirty five year old manager from Redhill. “I felt violated! People shouldn’t be subjected to this sort of thing – it’s only a matter of time before someone is cyber-raped!”

Some media commentators have been less than sympathetic toward reports of virtual sex assaults, pointing out that nobody has actually been physically harmed and that ‘victims’ always have the option of disconnecting their computers from the net. “For God’s sake, women are subjected to lewd comments and sexual innuendo every time they walk past a building site – but you don’t hear anybody calling for them to be shut down,” declares Jim Stiletto, acerbic columnist for popular tabloid The Shite. “Besides, if these bloody women didn’t put such flattering and provocative pictures of themselves on the web they probably wouldn’t get hit on so much. Take that one who reckons she was groped by a virtual pervert – I bet her avatar has a pair of really great firm knockers, a great arse and amazing cheekbones! But in reality she’s probably got sagging boobs, a bum you could balance an ashtray on and a face like the back end of a bus! If her avatar was true to life no bloke would touch her even with his mate’s virtual dick!”

Not surprisingly, Stiletto’s outburst has been met with a hostile response in some quarters. “I suppose these women were just ‘asking for it’, were they?” top feminist writer Germaine Slingback snorts scornfully. “Why should women have to surf the net in fear of virtual gropings?” However, internet entrepreneur Gary Trainer believes he has the solution to the problem – dedicated virtual worlds for sex offenders. “I’ve already got one such site running in beta – it’s just like Second Life, but entirely devoted to sexual deviance,” he explains. “You can indulge any perversion known to man in complete safety – all the ‘victims’ are either willingly participating masochists and submissives, or completely artificial intelligences, programmed to respond appropriately! Because it is only avatars being subjected to this filth and degradation, it’s all perfectly legal!” Trainer – whose previous ventures included a website supplying voyeurs with live webcam streams from the bedrooms of exhibitionists – believes that if sexual deviance can be channelled into specialised web applications, then the rest of the web will again be safe for decent people to surf. Norman Slipper remains sceptical, believing that it is too late to clean up the net and rescue it from the perverts. “Why should we trust someone who seeks to profit from the wages of sin to protect us?,“ he asks. “All he’ll be doing is fuelling the evil fantasies of these deviants – allowing them to practice before they contaminate and corrupt our children with their filth! The internet is Satan’s tool and we should pull the plug on it now!”