Firstly, the popularity of such sites means they have become a favoured way of criminals to spread malware, which can have a variety of serious consequences.
It is also because of the very nature of the content being viewed, which will be unsuitable for people under 18, and may cause offence to others.
- Exposing your computer or other devices to malware, which can have a number of serious consequences including:
- Being used to snoop on everything you do on your computer or other device, including monitoring financial transactions and activating your webcam.
- Locking down all your files until a ransom is paid (ransomware), or blackmail threats via other means.
- Making your device part of a botnet (a large network of devices used to flood websites with massive traffic they cannot handle)
- You may or may not know if your device has been infected with malware until fraud, identity theft or other types of crime have been committed against you.
- Exposing minors to inappropriate images, video, text and other content, for example if you are viewing adult content on a shared device, or they are looking over your shoulder.
- The possibility of inadvertently viewing pages which contain extreme and/or unlawful content, by clicking on links (whether or not contained in images) which do not reveal the true nature of those pages.
- The temptation to deliberately ‘progress’ to viewing content which is extreme and/or unlawful.
Viewing adult content safely
- Visit only mainstream websites, as the reputable ones rely on their integrity to maintain earning income from advertisers and subscribers.
- Do not be tempted to click on links to websites offering or displaying unlawful content, or extreme content which may distress or shock you.
- Do not view adult content on a computer or other device which is accessed by minors, or others who you do not wish to know your viewing habits. If this is unavoidable, use browsing privacy settings, delete viewing history after each session and do not bookmark the websites.
- If you become the victim of ransomware or other types of fraud, report it immediately to the police
- If you are using a mainstream adult website and are exposed to extreme or unlawful content that you did not expect to see, report it to the site concerned.
- Do not be too embarrassed or ashamed to report issues, as you could be saving yourself and others from future issues.