MySpace: it’s not enough!

Posted: June 24, 2006 in Uncategorized
Safety experts warned, "new security measures for young users of MySpace.com won’t be enough to stop online child predators". This shocking revelation comes on the heels of a $30M lawsuit filed earlier this week, claiming MySpace didn’t take sufficient steps to protect underage members…regardless of numerous warnings MySpace makes apparent to members.
 
There are several problems here. First, kids just don’t understand the dangers, they feel safe sitting at the computer inside their home, and they think only "friends" would want to see their blog. With this, they don’t see anything wrong with propping pictures of themselves, friends, their home clearly showing house number, their neighborhood; or posting personal information such as city and last name, where mom and dad work, etc; or talking about events/activities, times and locations. Even with the smallest bit of info, a predator can zero in on where you are located within just a few minutes (this isn’t just useful knowledge for kids…adults should be aware of these info-divulging tidbits on their own blogs as well).
 
Second, parents still aren’t involved in their child’s Internet habits as they should be. After 12 years, you’d think parents would realize just how dangerous the Internet is, but no…they let their kids surf without supervision, let them create blogs without approving what the kid sez in the blog, etc.
 
Third, there really is no air-tight way for a corporation to protect kids on the ‘net, primarily because either the kid will lie or the predator will lie to get past any "protection mechanism" that is set up. There might be a parentally-approved blog and list of sites the kid is allowed, but does that stop the kid from creating new accounts at MySpace or Passport or just about anywhere else? No, and kids always like to challenge authority and have their secrets. And the predator will always lie, it’s the single-most important social tool predators have, so that’s just a given.
 
What’s the safest thing to do? Get off the ‘net. But that’s not a solution for people in love with the "information age", so the next best thing is to get involved. Learn the dangers. Watch your kids ‘net use (and your own use, too). And keep in mind: if the predator wants to find you, that predator will do anything to find you…and may just be successful, even if you think you are taking all the proper measures. Just one piece of info can cost you your anonymity. Even worse, do friends post info about you/your kid?
 
The ‘net is not safe, treat it that way.
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