Should You Spy On Your Kids' Every Online Move?

from the missing-the-point dept

With the news breaking yesterday concerning MySpace getting sued because a teenaged girl who used the site was sexually assaulted by someone she met through the site, it’s no surprise that we’re going to see more and more stories about how to “protect” kids online. There’s been a glut of these stories recently, and they seem to involve more and more draconian solutions. The latest, in USA Today, is no exception, profiling a number of parents who seem to think the only answer is to monitor and record every single thing that their kids do. In fact, in one story, a mother watches from another room as her son received an instant message that included “an obscene phrase and link to a sexual website.” The kid, smart enough to know not to click on it, didn’t. So what happens? The mother still suspended his instant messaging privileges. That’s not raising a kid. It’s over-protecting. Only one family profiled seems to actually focus on parenting: teaching the kids that the world isn’t always a safe place, and explaining to them the risks they might face, how to recognize them and how to avoid them. They have regular dinner discussions about those risks. In other words, they’re teaching the kids how to deal with the risks, not hiding them from the risks. Over-protecting kids puts them in a difficult position when they inevitably do face a risk: they don’t know how to deal with. Educating kids, teaching them how to do the right thing, and trusting them to think on their own is what parenting is about. Being over protective and then suing everyone else as soon as anything goes wrong only teaches kids how to blame others and put their head in the sand about real risks.

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Comments on “Should You Spy On Your Kids' Every Online Move?”

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whitepawn_ootnw says:

Its Easy To Blame Others

it is easy to blame others for any problem, but what most people dont seem to realize is to know who to actually blame, because they are blinded by one sided stories. for example, stories about young girls being sexually assaulted or even kidnapped due to online activites. well, thats a very sad story indeed, and yes the perpetrator should be held responsible for his/her doing.

but it should also be noted that it was the girl who was also (to an extent) at fault. because they were naive enough to meet up with strangers, or even giving them personal information. and if these people were close friends to them, then it was also their ignorance of not realizing that people who have to ability to take advantage of them, may also possess the will to do so.

BenH says:

Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

“but it should also be noted that it was the girl who was also (to an extent) at fault”

What a horrible position. Sure, your points are valid, but to explicitly state that the girl has some fault in this, is horrible. There are a lot of terrible people in this world and to justify, even a little bit, their actions at the sake of a young innocent girl, is plain wrong!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

I think that some kids are very trusting, I don’t know the whole story but I believe that there are predators on the net and I think that keeping an eye on the kids is a great idea, but you do have to give them some trust. This is a tough spot, I know I have one teen and a preteen….they have been talking to anyone. I took away their myspace.

Nick says:

Re: Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

…but to explicitly state that the girl has some fault in this, is horrible.

Well, in that case lets just ignore all the facts that aren’t nice. Let’s just say that anything that is ‘horrible’ or
‘terrible’ or ‘++ungood’ just shouldn’t be mentioned.

What a great way to adress a problem, ignore the FACTS

BenH says:

Re: Re: Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

I don’t believe that I am ignoring the facts. I am just choosing to focus on the fact that this is a young girl we are talking about who was sexually assaulted. I personally think that it is irresponsible to put the blame on this child. Yes, she was naive, but she is a child, and by definition, is naive. I don’t know all the facts in this case, so yes, maybe she was trying to get assaulted and then I would have less sympathic. But the _fact_ remains that she is a child and she should not be to blame blindly because some sick individual that preys on children! Or do you sympathise more with the pervert that did this?^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H

Sorry did I say that out loud?

PT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Its Easy To Blame Others

This isn’t a case where a relative assaulted her by winning her trust by defacto they are a family memeber and you should trust them. This is a total stranger that won her trust through an online service that provides a network to socialize. Then the guy took advantage of that trust. The ONLY true person to blame is the guy and I don’t think anyone here would excuse his actions. But why drag Myspace into this?

As for the girl, you’d think that at age 14 and with all the hoopla going on today with sexual predators, she’d be old enough to know these dangers exist.

Must have been that “oh but it will never happen to me” mentality.

Isn’t it obvious that if girls didn’t meet up with strangers in real life that these types sexual assault cases would never occur? Its like the lesson we all learn as kids is to “never ever talk to strangers.” Well, we ought to be teaching our kids “never meet people online in real life.”

Still…we shouldn’t blame her for her naievity because she’s a child and bad decisions are expected of them until they learn enough through experience to know better. Which would be when exactly? At what point are children responsible for their own actions? It certainly isn’t until 18. Because if a 14 year old murders another person, they shouldn’t be held responsible because they are children? That’s rubbish. Oh, but in this case she’s an innocent girl and was the victim. No that doesn’t change the fact that she was in control of the situation of to meet the guy or not meet the guy.

No wait, you know what, its the parents fault for not giving her the skills to assess dangers around her. Maybe because they don’t understand the internet. Fine, but don’t blame a service for not watching out for your kid or teaching your kid about the dangers of the scary internet.

Its like suing a car manufacturer because they didn’t install nerf bumpers and a 10 year old gets killed by a drunk driver. Its the car manufactuers fault the child actually died because had they installed those nerf bumpers the dumb actions of the drunk driver would have translated into minor injuries for the child.

Should Myspace be completely excused from this? I think in this case, yes because I really think the mother is trying to captilize on her poor daughter’s situation (as are the lawyers). *Gasp* How dare I have the nerve to suggest the mother is exploiting the daughter! Hum, $30 million will do what exactly? Make the lawyers very happy and the left over couple million goes to the family and then…what? What will those millions do for the trauma the girl has experienced? Unless…ohmigosh it was the girl’s idea to sue?

Doesn’t Myspace already segment the users by age groups? Adults can’t interact with underage people? What more can Myspace do that is reasonable?

I will say this: The 14 year old girl has learned a valuable lessons in all this. 1) Be careful with who you trust and talk to online. 2) You can sue other people for your misfortunes. That’s what the “system” and parents are showcasing here.


SPR (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Its Easy To Blame Others

BULL!!! If they are old enough to be online using a computer they are old enough to know better than to give out their phone number and other personal info, and they are old enough to be held accountable. Just like the 15 year old that got on a Sam Francisco city bus several years ago and shot and killed a stranger just because “he wanted to know what it felt like”. We fail to properly teach our kids and prepare them for the real world and then when they get hurt we sue someone. The girl should instead sue the parents for failing to fulfill an implied contract. They failed to properly teach her and prepare her for life, a task they accepted when they conceived her.

Erik M (user link) says:

Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

Let us not forget to apportion blame to the parents either. In fact, I’d lay the lion’s share of the responsibility right at their feet. You don’t have to peer over your kid’s shoulders constantly to protect them from every online threat, but if you at least teach them about these threats, and how to handle them when they arise, they won’t be nearly as vulnerable to predators and scammers.

Even better would be the old-fashioned practice of actually instilling values and morals into children so they can face some of these dilemmas with at least some kind of internal compass to guide them. Somewhere between sports, sex education, mathematics, and science, try teaching a bit about right and wrong maybe?

Communication with your children is not something you ‘get around to’. It’s something that can save their future, their sanity, and even their lives.

AConcernedParent says:

Re: Its Easy To Blame Others

I CANNOT BELIEVE anyone would say that. The CHILD was a MINOR. There is a reason why we have parents and laws to protect minors. They are not capable of making safe decisions on their own. I can only conclude you must be a child yourself. That’s insane. Of course she was naive, she is a child.

Robert Rittmuller (user link) says:

Education is the key

Best defence any parent can offer against these types of situations is to ensure that kids are as educated as possible about the dangers. If the child is old enough to be using the family computer (or has their own) then they need to be aware of all the nasty things they WILL run across while surfing the net. I can’t imagine any other realistic solution to the problem in the long run since technology to restrict access or use by kids has consistantly proved to be less than effective.

Ronde says:

in complete agreement

I completely agree with the fact that kids need to be educated about the dangers and risks they will face when they are on the net. There is no way that someone could completely bock out all of the risks and dangers of the net. If they did, then they will not be favored that much by the persoon they are over protecting. A lot of parents need to know that.

rugby2006 says:

Re: in complete agreement

It’s a fact that you can’t protect kids from all the dangers on the internet and block them all out. It’s also a fact that they’re KIDS, and not small adults, and they’re ill-equipped to deal with the dangerous situations they put themselves into. Just because they think they know everything and can deal with anything doesn’t mean they can – that’s why they have parents.

Jess says:

Best deterrant

The best way to protect your kids is to keep the computer in a common area of the house – kitchen, family room, etc. That way the parents and older siblings can easily see what the kids/teens are up to and, more importantly, provide guidance when they stumble across bad sites or begin talking to strangers.

Give a curious kid a computer with internet in the privacy of their bedroom and I guarantee they will type every naughty word they know into Google and click whatever links come up. Yikes!

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t believe that I am ignoring the facts. I am just choosing to focus on the fact that this is a young girl we are talking about who was sexually assaulted. I personally think that it is irresponsible to put the blame on this child. Yes, she was naive, but she is a child, and by definition, is naive.

oh no no, you can’t play that card. Just because they are a “child” does not mean they are naive. People do not suddenly get common sense on their 18th birthday. If this girl doesn’t know not accept solicitations from people online then she hasn’t been taught enough common sense from her parents.

And yes, I am going to state that it is partially her fault. Yes, what the criminal did was completely horrible and he deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. But seriously, the girl should not have accepted invitations from strangers. I’m sure she wouldn’t accept invitations from strangers on the street, so why online?

It is not irresponsible to put any blame on the child, in fact it is irresponsible to put none of it with her. If teenagers don’t know not to talk to strangers online, then how the hell are they going to survive when they grow up and aren’t under their parent’s care any more.

Straightline says:

Re: you can't play that card

Consider a flaw in your logic. You have essentially said that ‘she was asking for it’ – our society and our legal system do not agree with you.

It’s not ok to rape a woman just because she wore a provocative outfit. It’s not ok to sexually assault a minor for any reason. (!)

This case does not seem to much different than one where a bar is held responsible for patron’s actions after they were served too many drinks. And since our society evolved without the benefit of a worldwide network of computers, save for the last 20 years, we may need to allow sufficient time for society/the courts to decide some groundrules for who’s responsible for what behaviors online.

SortaLikeJake says:

Re: Re: you can't play that card

Consider a flaw in your logic. You have essentially said that ‘she was asking for it’

Well…what was she going to secretly meet him for, tea? She was looking to hook up with some anonymous older boy she met on the net. So…she was kinda asking for it. At the very least she was being really, really, incredibly dumb. Hold her to her dumb actions. And no, that doesn’t give him the right to molest her. And no, I’m not defending the molestor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: you can't play that card

Consider a flaw in your logic. You have essentially said that ‘she was asking for it’ – our society and our legal system do not agree with you.

It’s not ok to rape a woman just because she wore a provocative outfit. It’s not ok to sexually assault a minor for any reason. (!)

The flaw lies with your own logic. You are creating a false dichotomy: either the perpetrator is at fault, or the victim is at fault, with no room for anything in between. There is no reason to believe that both parties cannot hold some of the blame for the situation, although obviously the perpetrator holds the vast majority of it.

Placing some of the blame of the victim does not make the crime “ok”. What you did there, was put words in the poster’s mouth in order to make an emotional response (by effectively saying that he supported the molestation of children).

Let’s say I walk down town with a sign on my chest that reads “I’ve got $1000 cash in my pocket, and no way to defend myself”, and I get mugged. Surely, I did not deserve to be mugged, but some of the blame lies with my own naive/stupid actions.

Forget the nature of the crime (child molestation) and look at is as you would any other. We don’t find it difficult to put ::some:: fault on the victim in a Nigerian 419 scam.

Nobody is saying that we should blame the victim for the crime, only that the victim and the parents are idiots for not being properly educated on threats to the child’s well being. The simple way to keep crimes like this from happening is education, but instead they want rules and lawsuits.

BenH says:

Re: Re: Re: you can't play that card

AC, you have made some good points. However, I still don’t believe the child it at fault, the parents, yes. I would not go as far as call them idiots, ignorant, yes, but idiots, no. Even the best parents in world have children that make poor decisions.

One more point: There are some very manipulative people out there that are very good at making people do what they don’t want to do. Even making very competent and intelligent people do things they don’t want. Now pair a person like this against a 14 year old, even one who is been brought up well and been taught about the dangers of the “real world”. The child wouldn’t stand a chance. Now who is to blame?

rugby2006 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 you can't play that card

I agree with you, BenH. Only a person who has no children would believe that your children learn and accept all of the lessons that you teach them. I don’t know what planet the rest of you are from, but my kids don’t blindly swallow everything I tell them like it’s gospel truth. And at the age of 14, children are very easily manipulated indeed – the only ones they’re not prepared to believe are their parents. I think they probably figure out that you were right about everything when they’re trying to tell their own kids the same things. When they’re teenagers, what’s right is what they want to do and what’s wrong is what they get caught at.

Matty says:

Spy On Your Kids?

I am only 17 yet have been chatting since I was 9, I am glad that no one sheltered me throughout my use of the computer, I learnt more abou the ‘offline world’ through the online. Though I do have to say that the mother sueing myspace is a bad parent… there are many other ways to fix the problem. Who on earth lets a child onto the internet without teaching them the knowledge on how to protect themselves first? I do admit no one taught me, but I would have to say that this modern world is different… the dangers are a lot worse than they were 8 years ago… It is a bit like those silly parents who buy there children web cams… you sit there going why.

Now talking about this with other teens as I do admin a very large teen chatroom online, one thing that came forward is that parents do not know how to protect themselves online, so how do they teach their kids? You can’t just ban children from the internet, or watch what they do, the modern world revolves around communication, teens like to talk! and the internet allows us to maintain more than one conversation with multiple people…

If your a parent worried about your children online, I want you to goto them take their cellphone and go through the list of numbers and text emssages… maybe even dialed in and out numbers! and I bet there will be so many people in there that your children probably dont know.

Maybe you should take the cellphone off them to and leave with no communication in the modern world. YAY Depression. You can only blame yourselves for giving them the technology in the first place.

Ok to much rambling… I hope my point gets across.

TEOZ says:

YAY lets make a generation of hackers :|

The minute you start monitoring, restricting, blocking websites from children you start creating Computer Hackers. I am a student also I had to call upon the help of a computer hacker/Cracker; If the sites were never restricted or blocked or I knew that I was being watched. It only takes a few minutes to find a hacker in my school of 1058 students. Just a few quick questions to the right people… Immediatly I foudn the noe they call ‘sage’ or the hunter… a lonly guy who spends most his time online and walks aroudn with a laptop and a bunch of cd’s. HE didnt look like your typical geek, played soccer. Knew a lot about sport… friends with everyone within the seniors and from what I heard had been on tv talking about MMORPGs and how children can earn money from them. We went to a fast food restraunt and sat down on the tables… so much for the typical geek… he weighs 45kg :|!

Hefirst past me a list full of every hacker in the school, who had what software that was most wanted by students and who can help with what. He then past me a cd of basic keylogging software and instructions on how to use it. Also asked me to get the details on the monitoring softaware.. name, version etc.

From the list he gave me I found out there are 46 people who are known hackers within my school, there are 1058 students in total. Thats a pretty high ratio, SINCE IM IN NEW ZEALAND.

Though at the end of our conversatoin this shy lonly looking boy with connections to everyone and everything told me that he had failed school, but helped many. When I got ome and put in this cd, there was documents on it on everything, from how to steal the internet password my parents to how to make it as if it was recording the desktop insted of what im doing. Though I wouldnt have known all this if my parents never forced me to. Its a new age! Communication is taking us forward! woot! oh also I figured out I can use these type of things at school to? 😛 though ‘Sage’ as they call him warned me if I messed with the school he would ruin me… eek.

Anonymous Coward says:

This kind of thing irritates me, when will parents learn that doing that kind of thing just annoys their kids and makes them want to rebel more, a lot of those “kidnap” stories are milked for all their worth when they do come along, which is even more annoying, they always make it out like everybody who dares talk on the net is a paedophile, I’ve met up with people twice off the net and it went fine, you just need to have the maturity and experience to know where to look and who to trust. Spying on your kids will just make things worse, like the other family discuss with your kids, maybe even give them examples but don’t spy on them and don’t make them feel like they are the ones doing something wrong, punishing them for somebody elses crudeness is not effective.

SortaLikeJake says:

Not that hard...

Parents and kids should have openly communicative relationships. (Yeah, right. When has that ever happend?) Barring that, it’s not that hard to install keyloggers or other secret programs on computers to track you kid’s moves. Sure it’s sneaky, but you’re a lazy parent anyway, right? For example, what active mother doesn’t know that her underaged daughter is trying to sneak off to be with someone she met on the net? Besides, our kids are smarter than us when it comes to computerizing and the intranet. Parenting is not YOUR job, it’s the job of the (insert organisation)!

Of COUSE this poor, innocent, little girl is nowhere near at fault here. How was she supposed to know that the anonymous stranger from the internet was some perv that likes to molest young girls? When has that ever happened in the history of the civilised world? Too bad the roles weren’t reversed though. Could you imagine how hot it would have been if it had been a 15-year old boy hooking up with an college-aged chick? Why, we’d be patting him on the back, wishing we were him!

I, for one says:

Screw up your kids by showing them you can't trust

Spying on your children is very dangerous. There is a compelling body of evidence in developmental psychology stemming from Bowlby and others work on attachment and trust which points to covert surveillence of youngsters being a major factor in the development of schizophenia and personality disorders.

Surveillence is a cowards option to avoid confrontation, in this case the parents lack of ability to raise the issues with the child of sexual development and the dangers of predatory strangers.

In other words, if the parents just *actually talked* to their child this

wouldn’t be an issue. The only “blame” that can be usefully apportioned is to the parents (since you can neither practically remove all predators, nor childrens curiosity without locking up everybody on Earth in a cell) on whom the onus for responsible oversight falls.

Spying always has been and always will be a grubby, ugly and weak position that sidesteps engagement and breaks down trust and respect between both parties.

The very fact that one raises it as a solution to protecting children is indicative of the deep sickness, abject apathy and lack of moral responsibility to communicate that infects our society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why is it that when a minor is attacked no one questions the people responsible for her? It would be one thing if the attacker got her while walking home from school or otherwise kidnapped her but she willing went out to meet someone that she has only spoken to online. What kind of parent lets a 15 yr old go out on his/her own to meet someone like that?

Nomad91 says:

Criminalizing the internet

Message#23 covers things quite well. However there is a pervasive distrust of the internet throughout many posts. The internet is no different than going to any other public place. The main difference between the net and face-to-face meetings is that: #1 people are much more trusting online and #2 anything you do can be recorded and used against you. The trust factor isn’t about what your parents taught you, it’s about feeling safe in your own environment while the person you talk to is far away. There is a feeling of detachment such that, while more trusting and open, users are also more likely to lie about themselves and consider those they encounter to be intagnible.

TEOZ: “Generation of hackers”.

Good point! It’s a matter of freedom and self-growth (individuality). An unreasonable act imposed on a child or adult will be met with resentment and rebellion.

PT: “Isn’t it obvious that if girls didn’t meet up with strangers in real life that these types sexual assault cases would never occur?”

…and how do you expect her to ever have RL friends, get married, get a job…ect?? If you don’t go out and meet strangers you’ll live a very lonely life. The Internet in it’s most simple concept is nothing more than a global library. Granted, the net has more dark sections than most real libraries, but the concept is the same. If you can trust your child to go to the Metropolitian Museum or Library of Congress alone, then you should have no problem with them crusing the Infobahn.

“Being over protective and then suing everyone else as soon as anything goes wrong only teaches kids how to blame others and put their head in the sand about real risks.”

Exactly! And the children will not learn unless they make mistakes. The girl and guy made a mistake. It should have been dealth with on a man-to-man level, not a cowardice run to the law and lawyers.

While I sympathize with the girl, I also don’t blame the guy. Society loves to blame men when a woman accuses him of wrong-doing. The problem is that no one here knows if the girl presented herself as being older. A good bit of makeup and many 14y-o can pass at 17-18. Until you know the facts, don’t pass judgement. Calling the guy a pervert is only demonstrating your own ignorance. I’m not siding with him nor the girl… I simply don’t know the facts and neither do you.

Sanguine Dream says:

While I sympathize with the girl, I also don’t blame the guy. Society loves to blame men when a woman accuses him of wrong-doing. The problem is that no one here knows if the girl presented herself as being older. A good bit of makeup and many 14y-o can pass at 17-18. Until you know the facts, don’t pass judgement. Calling the guy a pervert is only demonstrating your own ignorance. I’m not siding with him nor the girl… I simply don’t know the facts and neither do you.

Good point Nomad91. A lot of times when a case of a guy attacking a woman comes up people will instantly jump to the woman’s defense without getting all the info. Yet when a woman attacks a man its becuase he drover her to the edge or some BS double standard kicks in but thats another argument for another day.

A 15 yr old pretends to be 18 to get a guys attention and has consentual sex with him. Most people would just call the guy a baby rapist and never bother to hear him out. Yes maybe the guy should have put more effort into discovering her real age but no one asks, “How did a 15 yr old manage to pull this off?”

There’s plenty of blame to go around but most people spend more effort trying to assign blame than they do trying to take the time to analyze the issue and come up with a REAL plan (not just some half-ass law to please some interset groups) to stop it from happening again.

PS- I’m the poster from comment #28.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what! Parents cannot win… They are always blamed no matter what postion they take. “They don’t parent enough” and the one in the article above “over parenting!” Just lock all of us parents up and get it over with. When you become one yourself lock yourself up becuase you’ll either be a neglagent or overprotective parent. Either way your evil and you deserve “ALL” the blame for what your kid does even if you won the parent of the world award.

In ref to the kid with the IM’d porn link. You know damn well if mom wasn’t watching he would have clicked on that link. He knew his mother was watching. If it was my kid I’d remove IM myself. Thats good parenting not over protecting. A kid does not need IM anyway. Who says a kid “needs” to be online IMing???? Only a kid would it thats who.

Nomad91 says:

re: #35

About the IM.. it’s not a matter of whether the child would have used the link, it’s that he felt compelled to do so. We don’t know if he would have used the link if mom wasn’t monitoring, but we do know he did what she wanted and was punished for what he didn’t do. If the parent chooses to not explain sex to the child at a young age then she can hardly blame him for being curious when presented with an oppertunity to learn.

You can uninstall the IM if you want, but as long at there is an internet connection the child has an oppertunity to circumvent your will. Turn off the internet and the child then has to go look for answers elsewhere – like their friend’s porno pile, folklore from friends and ultimately they’ll find a mate and learn the old fashioned way.

Sure, parents get blamed when their kids do bad things but parents recieve a lot of praise when their children do good. To be a good parent you need to remember what it’s like to be a kid and temper it with the wisdom of age. In the MySpace case, it’s more likely that the parents were too involved with work & earning money to properly guide their daughter. It’s not a matter of bad parenting, it’s parental priorities that are in question and mostly it’s about the girl’s own actions.

Sanguine Dream says:


In ref to the kid with the IM’d porn link. You know damn well if mom wasn’t watching he would have clicked on that link. He knew his mother was watching. If it was my kid I’d remove IM myself.

You we don’t know if he would have or not. The only sure fire way to know would be to catch him in the act. Why not wait and see what he would have done and then punish him if he made the wrong choice. When a parent tries to punish a kid for something they “know” they would have done all that does is make the kid think that their parent does not trust them. And the kid would be right cuz you would be watching them 24/7 trying to predict what they were gonna do. I don’t care how good of a parent you think you are if your kids don’t trust you it will come back to haunt you later.

And this is not directed at the person that made comment #35 but I have to say this: Lots of parents will say, “You don’t understand becuase you don’t have kids.” This isn’t some magical statement that can shutdown any and all counter arguments from people without kids. If I had kids the first I would do is realize that I can’t apply the same methods and logic that my parents used to raise me. I was born in 1980 so I was raised during the 80s and 90s. If I had a kid today there is no way I could raise her/him with the same methods and logic that were used on me back then cuz if I did how would I account for the internet?

BenH says:

Re: Re:#35

Before I was a parent I said a lot of things that started with “When I am a parent…” and now I laugh at what I use to say. There is a big difference between what you think you will do and what you actually do. I see your point about the “You don’t understand because you don’t have kids.” not being the end all statement, but it definitely is true in a lot of cases.

To respond to #35: The way parents win is by remembering that we parents are human and we are bound to make mistakes and that children are human and are bound to make mistakes. And to love them the best you can while trying your best to protect them from what ever you can. And then, without warping them.

sensible says:

Whos to blame then?

I think the parents are totally correct in suing the unfeeling and heartless company that facilitated the introduction of their sweet delicate innocent daughter to the evil person who tainted her for the rest of her life.

The construction company that created those evil roads and highways should be put on the stand and made responsible for their evil acts of creating such an open system to transport anyone regardless of age or intent to wherever they would like to go.

What? No security checkpoints? No tracking of who goes where? No accountability. Evil EVIL road construction companies.. it will be the end of civilization as we know it!!!


Honestly, these people should be put in jail for frivolous litigation and should have to pay libel to myspace for the bad publicity. Social services should also come and take their daughter away since they are obviously bad parents.

G says:

Mutual Trust with Learned Guidance

Too many dolts expect the government or something as insubstantial as a religious figurehead to be responsible in protecting their child… when its the Child him/herself that is ultimately in charge of their own safety (parents cannot be present 24/7). Of course, with proper education and support from the parent, that risk can be lowered drastically. Remember the phrase ‘knowledge is power’ ? Well parents should use it. Give their children the proper knowledge to conduct themselves in whatever they do. In their day to day lives or even the internet. The internet is no different than real world. Kids are bombarded with all sorts of pressures in and out of school, and in an out of their ‘chat rooms’. It is no different. The subject matter is the same… just the carrier of that material is different. Teach your child responsibility and give them the ability to ‘think for themselves’ rather than regurgitate some packaged spew fed to them by some ‘walk away from strangers manual’. If they think for themselves, they learn responsible behavior that will mold them and guide them for the rest of their lives. Its simple. Build a relationship with your child based on mutual trust with a support structure of learned guidance (through the parent’s life experience). The parent has ultimate judgment in their child’s life. Yes. But without respect and mutual trust the parent’s efforts are moot. Be involved in your childs life.. treat them as an individual. Do not ignore them. What may seem petty to you may mean the world to them. Take their concerns seriously and with respect, and they will respect you. You, the parent are their mentor and guide. No one else.

Teph says:

I think everyone seems to take too much of an ABSOLUTIST point of view on this subject.

BenH seems to think because she’s young that she’s able to be completely manipulated, and that no fault lies with her because the big bad man is a smooth talker, and who’s commands she must obey with no invervention from her own BRAIN or self control.

Nick and others seem to think the opposite, that she’s a complete dumbass and possibly went on the date to get raped, or at the least ‘get some’.

Both views are obviously rediculous. I don’t think we have any way to know exactly which view better describes this situation, but you simply cannot side with BenH’s unrealistic point of view.

As described in the original article about this, the young man (19) did NOT misrepresent himself to the young girl, and if anything is possible SHE misrepresented herself to him. Strike 1 against the girl. Then she WILLINGLY meets him after school, and goes out with him for a movie and dinner before going back to him apartment.

In NO WAY did this girl not have control over the situation until she got into his apartment. If she had refused to go back to his place but was FORCED to anyway, it would’ve been stated in the article. It just simply wouldve have. The article would’ve IMMEDIATELY been esculated to 14 girl RAPED through myspace, not just sexually assaulted. (ok, maybe not, but I think you get my point).

No one gives these children the credit their due. They DO have brains and DO make decisions for themselves at a very young age. Most children are manipulating their parents before they can talk, and certainly before they’re a teen.

To put it simply, I MUST agree with the others, even if just slightly. She MUST, in some degree, be held accountable for what happened to her. A drunk driver doesnt MEAN to run over a pedestrian, but its still at the least vehicular manslaughter. Did they mean too? Doesn’t matter. It happened and they pay some sort of price for it.

Taking away her accountablility for her part of what happened is just as bad as the crime commited in the first place.

If you don’t help her understand how dumb a choice it was she made, she won’t ever learn. And not learning from such a tragic mistake would, well… in fact, be… tragic.

This doesn’t mean that the young man shouldn’t have HIS TESTICLES removed from his person for taking advantage of the young girl, but don’t act like he broke into her house and kidnapped and raped her.

For all you know, she set it all up so she could cry ‘Rape’!

Quite honestly it could just as likely be the case as much as anything else.

Make assumptions based on the known facts as much as you possibly can before making your assumptions. The KNOWN facts actually point to her being at fault more (ok, or just as much) as the guy.

Monster says:

Re: myspace

Debbyebby, you’re ridiculous. I feel horribly sorry for your son. It’s called privacy, and us teens quite enjoy it, thank you.
A little more attention?! Ha! It probably would’ve happened sooner, at that rate. And that girl was asking for it. She was acting like an idiot. She was ignorant and naive, but even if her mom watched her, I very HIGHLY doubt it would’ve stopped that from happening. Now, maybe if she’d told her mom she was going to meet someone. Let her mom meet them, too, at first. Maybe things would’ve gone better.

dee says:

take it from a teen

teenagers today arent looking for attention and with urban sprawl we have less and less places to hang out that we can get to myspace is a way of connecting to others and it quite possibly is her fault to an extent because i see plenty of girls a day that are 12 that say theyre 18 with headlines like “come’n get it” or “oh so sexy” things like that are just asking for trouble and parents make it all to easy for the kids that do that to place blame on others if their profile practally screams “come and get it if you want it” then yes they have some of the blame

Monster says:


I completely agree. Parents spying on their kids is ridiculous. I, myself, am only 13. I love the internet, it gives me all the freedom to say exactly how I’m feeling without being ashamed or afraid. If my mom started reading everything I wrote, saw every place I went, which is what she plans, I would no longer go on those computers. I would find other places. And, we’re not all complete idiots, you know? I have more common sense than my 17 year old sister…And if she can date a 40 year old, why can’t I have friends on the internet? I started searching for what software my mom might get, and how I could go around it. But, I found this. I plan on showing this to my Mom. It’s kind of like a persuasive essay, huh? ;D I’m smarter than the average “kid”. I can protect myself, now I just need to make my Mom understand that…

“You’re going to get molested.” Not if I can help it…I can protect myself just as well as my mom can.Okay? I’ve been on the computer since I was young. I basically understand who to trust and who not to. Any time I don’t feel I have enough trust in a person, I meet someone who’s nice but scares me,I delete them! I think about it a lot. Sure it’s dangerous..but to me it’s worth it. I don’t know about any other kid, but I don’t share my feelings, usually. Anyone in my real life, doesn’t know when I’m sad or angry..Which appears to be very often. No one ever knows if anything is wrong with me. I’m just “tired”. But on here, the internet, I can express myself! Without anyone judging me, immediately, or anyone contradicting me!
Taking away my computer, or phone isn’t going to get my mom anywhere. It is OVER-PROTECTIVE. Your kid needs to grow up, they need to make their own choices.

Don’t spy on your kids..Tell them right from wrong, and let them do what they want. If they make a mistake, it’s THEIR MISTAKE. You got to make mistakes, now let them. In any case that your kid is a complete moron, keep going over it with them. Show them scenarios where things went wrong (Like the story about the girls being assaulted, and what not.)

Oh, and about the boy who got his IM taken away..I mean, come on. All of you people don’t KNOW him. He probably wasn’t even going to open it! For gods sake, I get stuff like that all the time. It’s either “delete and block” or if it’s in mail, I tell them off than block/delete them.
I may not be a parent, but I’m a kid. I understand myself, and others like me, better than a “parent” can. You think you know what’s best for your kid, but maybe you don’t…
Take what these people have to say in to consideration.
They all appear to have great outlooks on this subject.

>.> says:


This is so DEFINATELY right.
My parents banned me from anything they decided wasn’t “GOOD” for me, including msn, myspace and one of my favorite computer games (they decided that I was addicted) >.>
And they seem to plan on doing that until all I can do left is homework and read (“educational” books only, that is).
I wish my parents would read this article.

hui says:


you tell a kid not to do it .And the kid won’t do it.If it were the situation hundreds of kids would have been safer now.
You have every right to protect your kid until they are 18.Because at that time they are mature enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong.Until then ,it’s OK to do what is right for them .But in a nice way.

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