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To myspace or not to myspace?

posted 1/14/2008 5:24:37 PM |
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Ok...I stole the title from a friend on another site...I won't give their name cuz it doesn't matter but their story is relevant here.

I read an article on CNN that myspace is making a move to try and block registered sex offenders from creating profiles on their site. Here
is the link to the article if you want to read it.

I understand the protect kids. However...there are several things wrong with this:

One, what's to stop someone from lying about their age? Kids sign up on myspace and lie about their age all the do adults. Kids pretend to be older than they are...adults pretend to be teenagers to get kids. set up different 'free' email accounts all the time to get around the email restrictions their parents have set up.
Two, not all registered sex offenders are child predators. It's a blanket law that covers anyone convicted of a sex offense. ANY sex offense. I have a friend who is a registered sex offender. I won't go into the details, except to say he was wrongly accused, but still convicted. As a result of this, he has had to create his own website in order to write and create without being persecuted. He has a fairly large following, but a few who insist on reporting him whenever the subject of his conviction comes up.

Three, there is no software that puts a camera in someones home and checks to see if that person really is who they say they are on the internet.

Basically, the only way to protect children is to monitor their activities while they are on the internet. Talk to them, make sure they aren't giving out personal info of any kind, and especially on myspace, make sure their page is set to private. I check out the pages of our kids frequently...not so much the oldest, cuz he's an adult, but I used to. Yes...I'm being nosy. That's my job! That's any parents job. If I see something that makes me wonder...I ask about it. If I see any type of personal info...I make sure it's deleted immediately.
Myspace and the A.G.s are taking responsibility away from the parents. In the long run...they're setting themselves up for a lawsuit...if these measures fail, they can be sued.
Myspace is already doing what it can to keep the site 'family' removing porn and responding quickly to complaints of abuse and inappropriate content. They don't mess around! However they, like alot of sites...don't use an I.P. blocker, so someone who's account is deleted just comes back with a new name and email.

Even on a site like this...we get kids who are obviously underage. We report them, they get deleted...most don't bother trying again. But the site can't be held responsible for a teenager signing up and lying about their age...that's the parent's responsibility.

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Jan 14 @ 5:37PM  

Nice blog hun. And I agree with you, you made some very valid points here.

I'ma giving you one of those green smurphs for this.

Jan 14 @ 5:39PM  
My kid has a profile on Myspace..And she is going to be 13 next month..I let her have it but monitor what she puts on it..The kids on her page are all her age..Most of them...They lied about their age. ..They go to school with her or are family members....I have seen some things on my daughter's page that I didn't not like..This Marlyn Mason crap... And told her to take it off or her page comes down...So far she has been good about doing what I say...If that changes her page will come down..

Jan 14 @ 5:48PM  
I totally agree with you, Sunny. I think they're going overboard with this. And you're right, everyone who's convicted of being a sexual predator isn't always guilty, some are actually innocent. Kids seem to be into everything today, and if they want to sneak around some places that they have no business in, well, it's hard to stop them. But you are right when you say this is flawed with what Myspace is going to do. Me having a daughter, I know it would be my responsibility to watch her behind the computer and to know what she's into on it, especially with a lot of sleeze bags out there. Giving you a kudo for this blog!

Jan 14 @ 6:18PM  
Very true Sunny. In this state until the statute changed August 28, 2002, anyone caught peeing off their boat was convicted of Sexual Misconduct 2nd Degree and had to register as a sex offender. When you've got a lake with 1380 miles of shoreline, there's lots of folks peeing off boats! But then again any sexual offenses that occured prior to January 1, 1995 the defendant did not have to register as a sex offender. That includes rapists, child molesters etc. There's a lot wrong with this picture as far as I'm concerned! Personally I always monitored my son's pc use while he was a "young un" now he's pretty much grown and out of my control.

Jan 14 @ 6:25PM  
Good blog. I read that story earlier.

My one best friends daughter has a myspace acct, but it is closely monitored.

We sat down one night and talked with her and pretty much role played, because she said she would never give out info that was personal or where someone could find her.She's too smart for that.I told her I would ask her questions over the next 3 days pretending to be a new friend of a friend on the computer. She said okay, give it your best shot....
I told her I was a 14 year old girl and I didn't like school but I loved sports, did she play any. Was she in any after school events? I told her my school colors were black and gold like Steelers colors, but I didn't like them. What were hers and did she like them? My name was Ann, how boring was that, I wish I had a cool name or something different.

Eventually I could tell her, her name what school she went to,what grade and her teachers name. what sport she plays and when and how she gets to and from practice and school. And who's home after school and when. What her dad does as a profession and how many siblings and the ages. Alone with some other stuff.
She had no idea she gave me all that info in just idle chitchat. With whom she would have though was a 14 year old new friend. She told me I only figured it out because I'm smart.....I told her so are they and they have an agenda.

I agree it's a parent or even grandparents responsibility to be nosey with what's going on online.

Jan 14 @ 6:31PM  
Amen Sunny D.. they call that shit PARENTING.. it's a job.. people should do it.

Jan 14 @ 6:46PM  
My kids were in their late teens when I finally got a computer........I would have been hard put to monitor them.........tho they seemed to monitor me quite well.......... I have a good friend whose daughter's computer is not in her room but in the dining room, every night my friend goes thru the history to see what sites she has been on, checks out her myspace page and other sites she is on. If the history has been cleared, daughter is grounded off computer. Kids think parents are being mean to them but their are alot of safety issues to be taken into acct. Great Blog, Sunny.

Jan 14 @ 6:47PM  
Well at least wylchild uses it mostly to check out Hip-Hoppers and Bry reads my leftist commie pinko anti government rants so we are doing something right!

Jan 14 @ 7:03PM  
I let my 12 year old daughter have a myspace but it dodn't stay long mainly because my daughter has the bad habit of trusting anybody who talks to her..She is a good kid but she trusts to easy and I didn't feel she was ready for this kind of site..I deleted her profile and I have blocked that site from her internet among other sites..As a parent I do pay attention to who she talks to, what sites she goes to and anything else she does on the internet..Also, I am nosey and I like to know what she is doing on there..My husband is a PC Tech and well we put a very good key logger on her pc that even emails us about what she does..She KNOWS about the key logger...

We never hid the fact that if she got a pc and internet in her bedroom that this was going to happen..She was and is ok with having this on her pc which is good..She knows we trust her but we don't trust others and we want to make sure she stays safe..WE have had many talks with her about many internet issues that can happen..I feel that the parents should pay more attention to what thier kids are doing not only online but in school and when they are not home..I feel lucky I am able to be here with my kids and not have to worry about much with them besides health issues like with my oldest she just got hurt in cheerleading..Normal things...I don't have worries with the internet because she has limited access, and very limited of what she can do on there..It helps that she is open and honest with us at least for now right...Myspace at least is making some effort it seems...I mainly keep mine for friends I went to school with and for family members..

The bottom line like you said...The parents need to be there, know what thier child is doing and pay attention..Be a responsable parent..That's it..If they do that then less kids get hurt using the internet and sites like myspace.

Jan 14 @ 7:50PM  
The whole myspace thing really pisses me off personally. It is a bunch of fucking kids lying about their ages. I used to have an account.... that is until teachers started getting busted for corresponding with children under age..... well duh!!!!!...... it really lights me right to fuck up, that parents aren't more aware about what their kids are doing on line, and what content they are putting out there for all to read and see..... great blog!

Jan 14 @ 8:10PM  
If you blog under the politcs forum it ain't underage kids its grown ups with small minds pretending to be smarter than me!

Jan 14 @ 8:17PM  
TRUST NO ONE with your Children!!!!!!
Online or Not!
Ppl.. Do U you remember when U were at their age?
Think about it!? .............and the Answer is there!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My 2 cents...................

Jan 14 @ 8:57PM  
Good blog!

My sister has a 15 yr old and an 11 yr old..and she monitors their online activity VERY closely. If she sees something questionable..she talks to her kids..and if she doesn't approve...she lets them know. She has also let them know in no uncertain terms that since it was she who bought the computer and she who is paying the internet...what she says is LAW. So far, her kids have been pretty good.

Jan 14 @ 10:36PM  
If ya'll haven't figured it out already, I have a myspace account. I my friend list consists of only family and in people I know personally or through other friends. Yes, I have few people under the age of 18 on my list...they are either my kids, kids of my friends or friends of my kids (did I say that right??).

Myspace has developed a reputation for being a place for kids...sort of an online mall..without the stores. But 75% of the people on my friend list are adults! The others, I rarely correspond with unless they email me first...then it's only to respond to them...or maybe to comment on a blog they've written.

Toad69...the main point is that at some point we have to trust our kids. And trust to the fact that we've taught them right from wrong. In this age of technology, they have access to so much information...both good and bad...that we've had to teach them a whole new set of rules, rules we didn't have as kids ourselves. We have to make them up as we go, and learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Jan 14 @ 11:18PM  
Yep!!! Everything you said is right on target!


Don't forget about "the real world" dangers, too. My daughter - my beautiful, 13 year old girl - had a myspace page - closed to the public but since my niece and son were on her friends list, they could see everything and would have her delete anything inappropriate (mostly comments left for her), and would email anyone who they felt was inappropriate. But one boy - a 16 year old - got by them. He was actually 19 and she met him...


End of shopping with friends.
End of myspace.
End of story.

So, just remember that the dangers are everywhere still!!!

Jan 14 @ 11:19PM  
Oh...I forgot the most important thing!


Jan 15 @ 6:38AM  
gotta agree with every thing you said up there. I see the occassional To Catch a Predator (though I try not to watch as I take serious issue with the invasion of privacy that the group they work with employs) or something along those lines and I think to myself... Where are all these pervs (no offense to all the decent pervs on here) coming from? Is the internet breeding them? Is it even possible to turn somebody in to a child molestor? Were they all just hiding out in churches before?

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To myspace or not to myspace?