Tuesday, July 9, 2013

No Parental Controls? It's Not About Parents - It's About Profit

I write erotica for a living. I'm also a mother of four.
And I do not allow my children to search anything on Amazon by themselves.

That's right--a majority of my income is derived from book sales on Amazon, and yet I won't let my own children search for babysitting books or squirt guns on their site.
Why not? Because searching "babysitting" or "babysitter" can turn up 100 titles about babysitters fucking their employers. One of which is my own. And "squirt," in any variation, can turn up all sorts of titles about women "squirting."

Amazon doesn't protect children from those search results. Neither does Barnes and Noble. Both of my kids have Nook Colors--but I buy all their books. They're not allowed to buy a book on their own. And they're tweens (11 and 12) who have plenty of freedom in their day-to-day lives and are quite responsible.

But I can't count on Amazon to protect my children, and I can't count on BN to protect them, so I go out of my way to do so. Because I know exactly what's out there. And that's a parent's job. Ultimately, it should be up to the parent to set those boundaries, and I do so.

Unlike Google though, I can't even let my kids search on Amazon. With Google, I can set up a "safe search" function that blocks most, if not all, of the things I wouldn't want them to see yet. Amazon doesn't have that. Amazon has been making attempts, as we erotica writers know, to keep erotica out of the hands of minors by putting it behind a wall--labeling it with the "ADULT" tag and excluding it from the all-department search. And we all know this is a poor solution to a growing problem. In a post-50-Shades world, the rules have changed. "Mommy porn" has become a huge genre, and many, many new writers have come along to write it, flooding the market with erotica.
Amazon's solution is arbitrary and non-transparent. It doesn't keep children from finding books about babysitters having sex or women squirting, that's for sure. They just have to be looking for a book about babysitting in the Kindle store and voila! There's my book.

That's not good.

I write erotica, but I write erotica for adults. 

I never intended my audience to be under the age of eighteen, I make clear disclaimers in the front of my books that the intended audience should be of-age, and I don't want underage children or teens reading my books far before they're ready to handle the material contained within them.

I can protect my own children--but I can't protect yours. Only Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc. can do that. And there is an easy fix to this problem. Google has one--parental controls. It's a switch. On or off. Very simple.

So why haven't they done so?

I can guarantee you one thing--their motivation isn't to protect you or your children.

They are protecting their bottom line. Their profit. Period.

Follow the money.

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won't Forget


  1. I agree, Selena. Amazon, and to a lesser extent Barnes & Noble, are punishing authors of adult-oriented, legal and fictional books for their own irresponsibility. It's shameful. I'm glad to see you standing up for what's right.

  2. I happen to agree completely myself. Parents have to be responsible for their children's activities. I have a tween daughter myself...she's 11. She is not allowed to do any searches for anything on any site unless I check out the site first. If they do not have a parental control setting then I do the search for her. I am very aware of what is out there and how children have such easy access to it...even if they have no idea what it is. In the digital/virtual age parents have to stand up and be parents. But for companies to ban or censor books because a child might come across it is just wrong. They just don't want the reputation of being a supporter. I, for one, am not ashamed to admit to what I read. However, I do not allow my daughter to know everything that I read. More adults need to be adults and stop expecting websites to monitor their children's behavior. That is the parents job.

    Selena is one of my favorite authors actually. I have a long list of erotica writers that I just love. It's fiction to me (even if an author wrote it from personal experience) and gives me a whole new "fantasy" world to escape to.