The Economist is reporting a study by internet market research firm Hitwise that suggests pornography on the 'net may be in decline:

...the Hitwise data suggest that sex sites are now being dethroned. In Britain search sites overtook sex sites in popularity last Octoberthe first time any other category has come out on top since tracking began, says Hitwise. In America, the proportion of site visits that are pornographic is falling and people are flocking to sites categorised net communities and chatchiefly social-networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Traffic to such sites is poised to overtake traffic to sex sites in America any day now.

Good news, right? Not necessarily. As the article suggests, "adult" material -- like the rest of the internet at large -- may simply be changing venues. A decline pornographic websites has corresponded with an increase in porn in other areas of the web, such as peer-to-peer file sharing networks, social networking websites, and "virtual worlds" like Second Life.

Parents, don't stop monitoring your kids' internet usage just yet...