If you look at the history of pop culture, there's a pretty clear pattern that emerges: parents fear whatever "new" thing their kids are into, whether it's "rock n roll" or video games or social networking. The fear boils up, even to the point of politicians pushing for laws to stop this horrible thing. But then, after a little while, parents realize the "new thing" they feared really isn't so bad. So while we're still seeing fear mongering reports about social networking, it appears that parents are increasingly comfortable with their kids chatting online
using social networks or chat applications. That's good, too, because studies have shown these things really are not
particularly dangerous, and most kids are perfectly able to handle
whatever minor dangers they might face. Have no fear, though, I'm sure parents will soon find some other new terrible thing that needs to be regulated... and politicians will happily oblige. And, in the meantime, since politicians are a bit slow on these things, don't expect the laws against social networks to die down just yet either. There's still plenty of grandstanding to be squeezed out of that lemon.