The World Is A Dangerous Place, Both Online And Off… Story At 11

from the hasn't-this-played-out-enough? dept

It seems like not a week goes by when we see yet another story about just what an evil place MySpace is for teens. What’s funny is you could replace every instance of “MySpace” in the article with “chatrooms,” switch the date to a few years back and you could probably find a nearly identical article somewhere — probably quoting the same “experts.” Or just replace “MySpace” with “the internet” from about a decade ago — and you’ll get the same thing. Remember it was about a decade ago when Time Magazine put out its infamous article on that dangerous internet, chock full of dangerous cyberporn — that was quickly, and thoroughly debunked. The press loves these “something online is dangerous” stories, because they have a good hook. However, lots of things, both online and offline, have dangerous components to them. Rather than just building up the fear aspect that creates a misdirected lynch mob towards completely shutting down whatever is the dangerous thing this year, shouldn’t we be more focused on teaching people who to have a bit of street smarts — both online and off? When I was a kid my parents taught me to be careful around strangers. Are parents today not teaching their kids how to be careful and to avoid those who may be dangerous? Are they simply waiting for the press to build up enough fear that the government has to come in and do the parenting for them? Sure, MySpace is dangerous online… for kids who don’t know enough to be careful around strangers. So, which is a better solution? Stopping MySpace? Or teaching kids to be more careful? Because, if you stop MySpace, you can bet the same kids will just move on to the next “dangerous” thing. Of course, that will give the press their next hot story.

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Comments on “The World Is A Dangerous Place, Both Online And Off… Story At 11”

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Ted Smith (user link) says:

Re: Fear is the mind killer

Networking: The end of ‘shoulder surfing?
Some hackers like to “shoulder surf,” or steal unsuspecting PC users’ passwords by looking over their shoulders at the Internet caf?. Others prefer to crack an account’s password — using sophisticated software programs. But new developments in network security are going to wipe out the shoulder surfers, and their cracker pals, experts tell United Press International’s Networking.

Graphical passwords are emerging — images, not words or phrases, which authenticate access to a computer or a network. By Gene Koprowski

A. Visciciulli says:

Is it just me...

or do traditional media outlets, like network television outlets, and print media, always take the harshest view on any of these “dangerous online activities?”

My conspricacy of the day is that these reports are designed to simply put fear in people’s minds, but only to sell more cable tv advertising or magazines.

What’s ridiculous is to transfer this manner of thinking to another discipline, like previously suggested.

Would anyone take the reports of the “dangerous automobiles” of the early 1900s, if the reports all came through bicycle manufacturers?

Ben McNelly (user link) says:

Re: Is it just me...

btw, this just in! Hershey’s has released ground breaking information from a study that ties chocolate cosmuption to longer life expectancy, and possibly larger longer lasting erections!

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press/Time/MSN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed – unless to insight more paranoia or increase ratings/sales.

the unknown says:

Re: Re: Is it just me...

If i eat loads of chocolate, i can have more sex and i will live longer…wow! So chocolate is our friend again, funny last i remember it was our enemy. Well if it’s on the news it MUST be true.

PS: Does this cover the eventual heart-attack that i am bound to have by excessive consumption of chocolate combined with physical exertion? Or is that mode of thinking pass? too?
PPS: off topic again? dang, i must slap myself silly for being such a nincumpoop. SLAP

the unknown says:

Re: Is it just me...

Very good points A. Visciciulli, but allow me to make a remark on the following :

“What’s ridiculous is to transfer this manner of thinking to another discipline, like previously suggested.”

Is it that ridiculous? Really? Agreed terrorist activity vs. chevy is an example blown way out of proportion. Let me replace “chevy” by “aggressive foreign policy”. Does that make a little more sense?

(Sorry, a little off topic, I tend to do this all the time. Will revert to a more complacent topic-oriented stance from now own. Good day.)

Josh says:

Re: Is it just me...

The media’s overstatement and straight out misinformation of the dangers of anything to induce fear isn’t a “conspiracy” in the traditional sense. It isn’t an orchestrated campaign between different media outlets. It doesn’t need to be. The media companies already know that they can increase their viewership by inspiring fear. It keeps people glued to the TV. It makes them buy a newspaper or magazine. If you’re really interested in the idea – take a look at “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton (same author of Jurassic Park and other books). It’s fiction in and of itself, but heavily researched and lots of references.

Ben McNelly (user link) says:


Yep, MySpace is just a fad for fear now as much as it is a fad for the teens. The fear/story will just follow them around to the next popular thing.

– you cant protect all children with bad(or stupid) parents. You cant keep them from getting molested by thier own parents, so why would abolishing freedom of speech and expresion help them? Fact is, kids are mistreated and abused every day by people they know jast as much as kids are abducted or stalked. Yes the internet is dangerous, but the wold is dangerous. The only protection they have is from thier parents, and loved ones. So maybe a little more focus on famly, and relationship rather than pointing fingers at the internet, that is just another part of this world.

TMS says:

My Spaces- a case of "rights", I do not think so-

I would suggest that the title of this thread is itself misleading in it’s intention. While it is true that little good follows from over-reaction to a media story like this, the fact is the case in point here is not representative enough of the actual reality.

Further, while I would certainly agree that any adult has the freedom to express themselves in any manner they would like. However, this freedom does not follow as true if in the process of exercising your “freedom” you are, or could be endangering others.

The keyword here is “Adult”, and this story is not about adults exercising their freedom of expression or of speech.(and what is mentioned here in this topical submission is a mere sound-bite of information) It is instead a story about children, not of consenting age for anything.

Yes, no one should even debate the fact that the parents have primary responsibility for a child’s behavior, conduct, and on it goes. However, it is also true that these same parents (and taxpaying citizens) also have a right to reasonably expect their children can go to school and not exposed to elements of behavior that are not acceptable by any responsible moral society.

As far as the extension to what post were made from home; it seems that if these actions were started or promoted at school,and further as in this case harmful hatred and even much worse, then yes the school has not only the right but a responsibility to the by no doubt far greater majority of parents who do not want their children exposed to this type of atmosphere. It is easy enough to visualize if you put yourself in the position of the parents of the children who were in fact being victimized.

Personally, I must admit that I have raised both of my children (one has already graduated college) entirely through a faith based private Christian school system. While far from being the “perfect” system (if this were to exist) despite my initial reservations many years ago, there is no doubt in my mind that to educate them in this system was certainly one of the best decisions I have ever made in my twenty-eight years of parenting experience.

The internet, just as society at large has it’s bad and even down to the extremely evil, all available with great ease. However, this bad element pales in comparison to the good that exist on the internet, all of which anyone can reach with the same couple of clicks. Now as to what choices your children may or will make is in fact going to be largely (though not completely) influenced by the environment in which they have been raised, the moral standards they have been taught, and possible most importantly, the role models who they know most, yes it’s the parents.

However, it should be realized that just as all people do not have the same skills or qualifications, having a child does not make one a “parent” in the true sense of the word. In fact it takes years of practice to fully achieve that title, and even then, your still only human. The fact is that many parents of these children are single parent families struggling under tremendous pressures. Divorce is at the highest rate in recorded history, with many young parents convincing themselves that the children will be better off if they are divorced, when in fact this is almost never the case, rather it is a weak attempt at a selfish self-serving excuse. It tears a child apart as it is quite unnatural for a child to have to live with only one parent or choose one over the other. (cases of abuse excepted of course)

So are the schools evil if they in good faith try to teach and then follow through with problems that perhaps the parents have been unable (hopefully not unwilling) to correct or control, I think not, and to vilify the system for attempting to do what is right is encouraging what is wrong.


annonymouse says:

ppl are way over reacting about myspace. it is just another blogging site, with some cool added social features. both the ppl who say myspace is dangerous are ove reacting as well as the ppl who are obsessed with myspace. it is cool, but not as cool as some ppl think, and as long as you’re not stupid u can be safe on it, simple as that!

exmyspacer says:


Myspace is soooooooo cool. My parents are overreacting to it. They shut me off it! I’m trying to explain to them it’s safe as long as you set your profile to private, and keep personal info. to yourself.

I mean all the girls who are disappearing, being raped, and murdered are girls looking to have…you know what…and or want a BOYFRIEND!!! Which turns out the guys 38.

So all I’m saying stay on your profile, friends, and or people you trust. And if you guys/gals can come up with some facts to show my parents Myspace is not dangerous if you know how to act responsibley.

Anonymous Coward says:

My grades are so going down!

I have to admit. Myspace was pretty cool. I liked it, a LOT. I could meet other teens my age and see people from different schools in the neighborhood. But my grades are dropping. Im always checking it and wondering who said what!!! I can’t help but think about MYSPACE. Its dissusting!!! When your fighting popularity and trying to at least stick with your possy you have to check your myspace a lot. I cant get off it anymore. Now to a point I would like to delet it, but then again, I don’t.

Brenttany Rodriguez (user link) says:

I think myspace is dangerous in some ways

i think that myspace could be dangerous in some ways but you have the power to overcome that you can say i dont want to talk to you or you can immediatly log off it isnt that hard people make a big deal over nothing that is why you get hurt you give people your personal info and then you actually get yourself in the mess and you can always set your page to private its not that hard i would say that some people just go on there because they want to meet people but people like me go on their to talk to my friends so if you think myspace is dangerous that is your opinion you make your own desicions so make the right one

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