Online Predators Less Of A Problem; It's Your Kid's Friends To Watch Out For

from the so-what's-wrong-with-MySpace-again? dept

For all of the recent fear mongering over MySpace about “predators” going after kids, which has led to Congress pushing legislation to ban social networking sites (and plenty of other sites) in schools, you’d think they’d at least have a bit of evidence that these kinds of sites really are a problem. Turns out that’s difficult, since it’s not actually true. A new study shows that fewer youngsters are being solicited by predators online and those that are know enough to completely ignore or brush off the approaches. In other words, educating kids how to deal with online predators, and to recognize that you can’t trust everyone online seems to be pretty damn effective so far. One other interesting (if not surprising) finding from the study: kids are much more likely to receive online porn from their peers, rather than some random predator. In other words, just as has happened for ages, kids get their hands on some porn and pass it on to friends. So why are so many folks trying to shut down these social networks again?

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Comments on “Online Predators Less Of A Problem; It's Your Kid's Friends To Watch Out For”

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Cyber Shade says:

You forgot the main reasons!

The main reasons they want to shut down these sites is because -:

a) They don’t actually undestand them, the nearest they have probably come to a computer is their car or toaster. i.e. they are technology challenged.

b) They hate is when they lose control of the media, especially the issue of freedon of speech, isn’t that in the constitution someplace.

c) They just don’t like it when others are having fun.

JustLgi says:

Re: You forgot the main reasons!

You’re only almost correct.

a) Dead on!

b) Not really … they actually could care less! HOWEVER when the media fear mongers as they do to the not so smart general population it gives them an “issue” and even if it’s true or not if people think it’s “common knowledge” they get votes when they huff and puff about it. (I recommend reading ‘Freakonimics, or Myths, lies and down right stupidity’

c) you might have a point there.

d) get reelected


Beefcake says:

Beefcake's First Law of Pandering

The number of votes garnered by a candidate in any given election is directly proportional to the total volume of exothermic heat emitted from said candidate’s various orifices primarily, but not limited to, the oral orifice.

The first corollary to the above law indicates an exponential increase in votes relative to an equal volume of exothermic heat if any of that heat contains vibrations detectable by the human ear as the words “children” or “terrorists”.

The second corollary indicates an exponential reduction in votes relative to an equal volume of exothermic heat if any of that heat contains vibrations detectable by the human ear as the phrases “leave well enough alone” or “don’t worry, things are fine”.

bmac (profile) says:

Online predators

So let me get this straight: Because the rate of online predation has decreased, you think it’s a bad idea to ban the use of social networking sites in schools.

You’re saying if it’s 100, not 200 kids who got molested and ruined for the rest of their lives in a certain time period, that’s a great improvement and we can stop trying to abate that number.

You obviously don’t have children, and couldn’t care less about anyone else’s welfare.

People want to put their heads in the sand and pretend they are safe and protected, but the problem is, there are so many sexual predators out there, who will use any means necessary to get off, that anything that can help stem the tide is good. You won’t care one iota for your constitutional rights if your child is the one attacked.

And as far as watching out for your kids’ friends, they are much less likely to molest/rape than the 40 yr old man they meet online. Trading porn between curious kids is in no way the same thing as preying upon children by an adult.

The_Dock says:

Re: Online predators

Gee…I wasn’t aware someone could be raped and molested through the internet. Whatever shall we do!

Just kidding, I think the whole point to this is that the more educated children are, the better choices they make. Everyone is so concerned about children online being solicited by predators and running out to meet them. These same children would be dumb enough to have an older man walk up to them in a mall, say some wonderful things, then drive off with him into the night. People act like the online world is more dangerous than the real world and these people are very uneducated.

And I did watch the 60 minute interview about MySpace and realized it was just media hype. The three girls they focused the whole story on were part of the “dumb teen” crowd. They never mentioned how many other kids they had to solicit before reeling in these three girls. My guess would be a lot.

As for election year, I don’t think it matters how much they try and play this up. The republicans are going down!

Jan says:

Re: Online predators

Wow. I hope you don’t have any children; if so, you are putting them at risk with that attitude. It’s a well known fact that a person is far more likely to be harmed by people they know than from strangers. The best thing you can do to protect your children is to teach them how to keep themselves safe. Sure, there are predators out there, but trying to ban every single method a predator may possibly use to contact children is ridiculous. Such a head in the sand approach just makes children more vulnerable to abuse.

bastard says:

Re: Online predators

…its because you don’t do your job as a parent. Stop blaming myspace or video games or TV for things that are your responsibility. Why the hell should it be up to the government to ban these things? They are the responsibility of the parents/teachers/librarians and if they don’t want myspace then have it blocked…it isn’t very hard. It involves reading.

R. Larson says:

Re: Online predators

I DO have kids, and I’d like to say a few things…

1) MySpace or any social networking site should not be in schools, not because of risk of online predators, but because kids should be learning in schools, not chatting to their friends on MySpace.

2) Kids don’t get molested online. If someone is saying something you don’t like, be it a kid or an adult, there’s this little ‘X’ in the corner of your window you can click, and they go away.

3) I don’t give a damn if MY kid is attacked or not in relation to mine, his or ANYONE’S constitutional rights, and THIS is exactly the problem, let’s use kids, drugs, terrorism or anything else we can think of to turn 2006 into 1984.

bmac, this statment you made, “You won’t care one iota for your constitutional rights if your child is the one attacked.” really scares the shit outta me more than the imagined threat that there’s a pedophile on every corner.

4) If you’re so concerned about the safety of your children, then EDUCATE them about the dangers of being online, and stop crying to the government to solve every problem in society, real or imagined!

I hope you all realize that bmac is not the minority here, the government has used their own campaign of terror over the last few decades to cause many people to think just like this. Something bad happens or “studies show” that something bad might happen and people think it’s OK to lose all our rights so that Big Brother, I mean Uncle Sam, can protect us.

fuzzi says:

Re: Online predators

And as far as watching out for your kids’ friends, they are much less likely to molest/rape than the 40 yr old man they meet online. Trading porn between curious kids is in no way the same thing as preying upon children by an adult.

Your children are far far more likely to be molested by you, or another close family member, than anyone on the internet.

How many of your constitutional rights are you willing to sacrifice for “safety”? What gives you the temerity to assume MY rights aren’t worth more than your inability to monitor your children?

Single Dad says:

Re: Online predators

Why doesn’t anyone ever mention the attcks committed by women? There are many attack done by women that go unreported because men are raised to be Manly and it is not Manly to say that a woman hurt a man.

I was a Criminal Justice major and one of the thiongs we would hear about from visiting detectives, is that thew “statistics” are completely inaccurate because they do not reflect the majority of women based attacks.

Maybe fromn now on, you and everyone else could use both sexes as an example instead of saying things like the 40-year-old man online. As a last note, i might add that it seems to be commonly taught to young men that older women should be desirable etc etc, while young girls are taught that older guys are a no no.

In a society where the last 2 generations of children have seen their parents leave each other for younger people, richer people, or just so that they could play. Who do we blame when a 16-year-old has sex with an older person the man, the woman or both?

When we watch older women walk around with their boy toys and see their blogs about younger guys and have tv shows like desperate housewives which was voted as one of the most popular shows among women, then we should not have the right to only mention men when we have cross generation sex happening.

As a father i say do what is right. Explain the pitfalls of your own past and maybe the past of friends you saw get hurt growing up due to sexual activity. Monitor your child’s activities and above all, realize that their are also a huge number of female predators just as thier are male predators, so be careful and screen everyone that has contact with your child.

Bottom line- get involved as a real parent or shut up and let bad things happen. Your choice

uknown says:

You are all obviously uneducated. All you have to do is watch one of the 60 minute specials on how easy these child sex predators find children on the internet using common methods. I agree that MYSPACE is not the problem–it is a lack of parental control and protection.

Laws have to be established to protect the good of the whole, especially children who aren’t being properly supervised.

Lay off the consipiracy theories and use some common sense.

bluesubno.6 says:

State of Fear

The television stations have always been reporting on how dangerous the Internet, so parents resolve to ruin for all of us. Thank God this study shows that it’s stupid kids on the net that have predators after them, not responsible information-seeking kids.

It’s common sense really, don’t tell somebody you’ve IMed once your telephone number. They probably aren’t as interesting as you’d like to think.

Duhhh says:

Educate the predators

The guv’ment wants to shutdown social networking sites because that is where most of the under-cover cops are getting solicited by these sexual predators. Who cares that the kids know how to rebuff these advances, the COPS don’t, which means the pervs are drawn to cops. Solution? Educate the pervs, and then the cops will quiet down, which will let the guv’ment finally back off.

Adam says:

regarding the forumula

… not sure a formula alone will be sufficient, but how about an algorithm:

myPolitician.votes = 0;

if(myPolitician.hotair >= Politician.AverageHotAirVolume)
  while(myPolitican.hotair != 0)
foreach(speach s in myPolitician.speaches)
if(s.contains(“terrorist”, chidren”))
else if(s.contains(“leave well enough alone”, “dont worry, things are fine”))

Adam says:

that sucked.. let me try again

Here’s some better formatting.

myPolitician.votes = 0;

if(myPolitician.hotair >= Politician.AverageHotAirVolume)
while(myPolitican.hotair != 0)
foreach(speach s in myPolitician.speaches)
if(s.contains(“terrorist”, chidren”))
else if(s.contains(“leave well enough alone”, “dont worry, things are fine”))

Mike says:

Parents watch your own kids

Yeah, most parents put the responsibility of their own children in the hands of others. When the truth is that parents need to be responsible for their own children by educating them on the evils of the world and monitoring their social activities. Children can be sexually solicited in a park just as easily as online. So let’s shutdown all the parks!

Division by Zero says:

Online Predators

It all boils down to fear-mongering by politicians and the media. A child is far more likely to be molested by a relative or friend than by a stranger. My sister-in-law has worked such cases and the usual perpetrator has been the live-in boyfriend, the cousin, a parent, or even a sibling. We turn our attention toward outward threats while ignoring the ones closest to us.

Detective Eric Anderson says:

Online Predators

I have to disagree with this article, and point out that online solicitation of minors and enticement of minors by adults for sex is rampant. I am an investigator with the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, and I have conducted investigations first hand that have originated through social networking sites. These investigations have resulted in real ive child victims, and real live prison time for the sex offenders. I have also received several complaints that minors have received unsolicited sexual advances from unknown persons online.

I think that it is a mistake to underestimate the ability and drive of sexual predators and their desire to perpetrate sex cimes on unwitting and immature children.

The_Dock says:

Re: Online Predators

Wait, so if someone says something of a sexual nature to a child online they can be put in jail? Does this happen in real life too? I’m just very curious by this statement.

But, in the end, do you agree with us that it is a parent’s responbility to control and watch their children then to try and ban social network sites? I mean, there are porn sites out there where all you need to do is click a button saying you’re 18 and then you have instant access. Just from experience, the more children are told they CAN’T be on a certain site, the more they want to look.

Besides, these social networking site can’t be outlawed, that’s unconsitutional by the 1st amendment. The most that can happen will be age restrictions where, as we all know well, rarely work.

Beefcake says:

Beefcake's First Law of Pandering Third Corollary

The third corollary to the law indicates that supporters of the exothermic emissions punctuated with “children” or “terrorists” will invariably include incorrect, unrelated assumptions and accusations, and cite as fact opinions not supported by imperical research. This is also known as the Siegfried and Roy Corollary because it involves masking reality with smoke and mirrors, but eventually comes back to bite you.

Anonymous Coward says:

The general public is just really, really dumb. Look at the iPod and also the Palm. The palm was trash when put next to a pocket pc. The iPod is trash too. There are plenty of other products out there that do more and do it better; but, the general public refuses to accept those products because “billy” has an iPod. Another example is the Razor by Motorola.

I think in this case its as classic as the things I just pointed out. The media or their friend “billy” said something that they instantly took as a cold hard fact rather than looking at the actual data. So in this case when the media says MySpace is the spawn of Satan then the general public blindly accepts that fact just to go along with everyone else. Sheep follow other sheep I guess…

bmac (profile) says:

Online predators

Just as an experiment, go the sex offender registry for your area, and see how many there are, and how many are registered for crimes against children. It’s probably not nearly as many as you’d think. The point is, the Internet gives these creeps a sense of anonymity, and they’re bolder than they might be at the mall or park. And again, there are a lot more out there who haven’t been caught. Call it fearmongering if you want, but this is an epidemic in our society and any little thing that might protect someone from it is worthwhile.

I agree that teaching our kids about the dangers is appropriate, and I already do that, but I’m also not going to let mine visit MySpace, etc. in my house, and I’d like to know they can’t at school either.

Anyone who has a MySpace page can tell you that you WILL receive solicitation from strippers, amateur porn sites, homosexuals, etc. Even an educated, savvy kid might be curious enough to visit the page, look at the profile and pictures, and just might get in over their heads.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Online predators

“I agree that teaching our kids about the dangers is appropriate, and I already do that, but I’m also not going to let mine visit MySpace, etc. in my house, and I’d like to know they can’t at school either. ”

Personally, I jsut want to make sure my kids don’t go to school with your kids, cause yours are going to be psychotic, and I don’t want them hurting my kids.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Online predators

“Personally, I jsut want to make sure my kids don’t go to school with your kids, cause yours are going to be psychotic, and I don’t want them hurting my kids.”

Kids will become psychotic because they can’t use MySpace?

Do us all a favor; see a doctor and make sure you can’t have kids, because you have no clue.

najee paji says:

Re: Online predators

You know I am on myspace and I have yet to be solicited by any strippers, homosexuals(unless they are my friends)amateur porn sites or any of the kind. I mean for heavens sake even my 16 year old cousin hasnt been solicited by the same people. I mean have you even visited any of these so called bad social networks? I get more unwanted solicitations in my email than I do any of the socail networks I am apart of. My ex by the way hasnt got any on there either and he has himself listed as a 14 year old girl with no picture

Goddamn Mongorians says:

Seriously though...

Making such a fuss about social networks are only going to make kids more curious about them and participate in them in a secretive manner. This has far more dangerous implications than letting them be as it is. For one thing, parents (who should be monitoring their kid’s online activities in the first place) will be even less “in the know” than they currently are setting a stage for far more incidents. Also, they’ll be uninformed as to how to behave online as people will brush off teaching their kids what not to do because the “problem” will be solved. And personally, I believe if the kid is stupid enough to give out their personal information to a complete stranger after stripping down half to fully naked for them on their web cam then they deserve what’s coming to them. Seriously, I survivied my childhood internet experience just fine. Granted, I was also commiting credit fraud up to wazoo so I had some incentive not to disclose any personal information (i can already here the feds knocking on my door for posting this. hey, kids’ll be kids :P). Ah hah! there’s the solution… promote kids to commit federal crimes online so that they’ll be forced to keep their info private or else they’ll face prison time… kids can’t be harmed if they’re all locked in cells together. 😛

Anonymous Coward says:

Online Predators

“this is an epidemic in our society”

If that’s not the most absurd, sensationalist, alarmist, fear mongering statement I’ve ever heard. You’re just regurgitating the crap that’s been fed to you through the tube called the mass media. The internet hasn’t created these child predators or corrupted our youth or, in fact, changed any aspect of fundamental human behavoir… it’s just made the stupidity of the human race accessible to the public as a whole. Now everyone in the world gets to see how messed up people really are. The problem is people are in denial about human nature (the bad parts mostly, although “bad” is rather subjective and open to interpretation) and would like to pass the blame on to whatever the current cultural trend is…

cacimar says:

The 9-10 Commission

This report came out one day before 9-11. Congress still hasn’t addressed it.

“# 25 percent of exploiters of children are other children.

# Children who engage in prostitution can earn between $200 and $1,500 per day.

# 75 percent of children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation are from middle class backgrounds.


John Q Public says:

don't underestimate the sick and twisted

This is a serious issue too many of you are passing off as solvable by education and looking the other way.

Most parents do educate and restrict their kids appropriately, and keeping kids safe from predators is not easy.

These sick bastards have always been around, and technology gives them more opportunities just like everyone else.

I’m big into giving my kids freedom on the net at home, but none of them will ever have one in a bedroom or any other place I can’t look over their shoulder.

If schools had better programs I would allow my kids access, but public schools are pathetically run by disenchanted educated people who thought they would get more respect and earn more money.

Under 18 you do not have the rights you think you are entitled to and I DON’T CARE – a person willing to commit such a heinous crime is more dangerous than anyone you’ve ever met in the short time you’ve been alive.

was in school 4 years ago says:

social networking in school

i think all social networking sites should be blocked from school. not becaue of online predators or whatever, but because they should be in school learning, not looking at myspace. they can go on myspace when they get home, if their parents let them.

Morals of the story:

-Learn in school.

-Parents: if you want your kids to be safe, get off your ass and talk to you kids and monitor them.

lil'bit says:

How quickly we forget!

Remember the witchhunts of the 80s? That was when all those childcare facilities were operated by practicing satanists, molesting children and using them for satanic rituals.

Or the 90s, when abductions-by-strangers were happening on almost every block in every city in the US?

Now we have the 00s, and it’s Internet predators – just thousands of them out there. Although, I too am puzzled by what, exactly, one can do to harm a child through broadband or DSL. (For some reason, I always thought physical proximity was mandatory for physical harm to happen)

Of course, we are so much safer now that politicians have responded to these threats with mandatory prison sentences and 3-strikes laws. Who cares that the percentage of people America locks up is so much higher than any other developed country or that public coffers are being depleted keeping those dangerous first time drug offenders locked up for life!

Fear wins elections. Fear sells product! Next time you spend an evening in front of the TV, count the number of advertisiements that use fear to sell you something. You’ll be surprised how many use fear to sell you something you may or may not need or want. If you include the fear of embarrassment or unpopularity or body odor, the total percentage of ads using fear to sell probably approaches 95-98%

I’m more interested in how, exactly, one harms a child with porn – – – having been exposed to so-called porn since I was young and not feeling damaged at all.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:

yada yada yada

listen to this bullshit. all you fucking experts with your ‘known facts’.. (as opposed to unknown facts i suppose) nothing brings out the crazies like sex, politics and/or religion. throw kids into the mix and the nuts go to working overtime. What we need to do is let parents parent and keep the right wing republican evangelical loonies out of power and out of our bedrooms.

John Q Public says:

EDUCATE??? That’s a f*ing cop out, and you clearly don’t understand the dynamics of manipulation. What child is capable of understanding when they are being manipulated by clever converstation? They don’t teach the dynamics of persuasion and the psychology of decision making to children, and don’t come back with “they should” because it isnt’ that easy.

Haven’t you ever been sold something you didn’t need or didn’t want? Ever come up against a slick salesperson who just wouldn’t give up? It’s easy to sell kids almost anything — they don’t have enough experience at making bad decisions, period.

Molestation isn’t necesarily physical, to get someone to submit to the unthinkable you first have to convince them it isn’t wrong.

Keeping kids out of chat rooms and such places is a start, whether you think it is a violation of rights is irrelevant, children don’t have the rights of adults, for damn good reasons.

Goddamn Mongorians says:

to John Q.

My guess is you weren’t the brightest blub as a kid. My guess is that you, as an adult, are easily manipulate by clever conversation. There are no “dynamics” to persuasion, just gullible people. My guess is you took a psychology class in college and now you think your “knowledge” of this cargo cult science is applicable to real life situations. Kids ARE clever and they CAN tell when someone is manipulating them… at least the ones with half-decent heads on their shoulders. You don’t need experience in making bad desicions to make good ones, just logic, which apparently you lack judging by your comments. Molestation in regards to its sexual meaning DOES require physical presence. Children don’t have the same rights as adults because laws are enacted by people who forgot what it was like to be a kid and for all previously mentioned political reasons. Keep in mind that the use of the word “child” refers to anyone under the age of 18. You can’t tell me that a teenager isn’t capable of making sound decisions. Granted there are the stupid ones, but again, anyone who strips half to fully naked in front of their web cam for complete strangers and then gives out their personal info deserves whatever is coming to them. But hey, whatever works for you, sheep will be sheep I guess.

NSMike says:

Back when...

Back when the internet wasn’t NEARLY as peer oriented, but when it still had significant amounts of porn on it, a few friends and I exchanged 3 1/2 floppies. Initially, the rule was to add something to the disks every week, but NO PORN (for fear of getting caught with it, both in school and at home). That lasted all of one day. We didn’t get caught either, but it didn’t take much to be able to exchange porn then, on floppy disks, and it takes even less now.

Besides which, before the internet there was always someone’s playboy stash.

Matt says:

I have a son and hate DOPA.

First realize this bill isn’t for just schools, but also libraries.

Next when a child falls out a window do we blame window manufactures and ban windows for schools and libraries, because a child might fall out? No we hold the caretaker responsible. The internet should be no different.

If you want to say that the computers in schools need to have filtering/blocking, leave it up to the parents in that school district to determine what to block.

Or ask why when childern have access to the internet that there isn’t someone monitoring them? Even in a computer lab it wouldn’t be that difficult to have a teacher’s computer monitor all their connections and be able to block it from there.

Don’t allow terrorists to push you around. Yes, I’m saying people who use fear to push agendas are terrorists. Yes this includes many politicians and much of the media.

I was glad to see I’m not alone in these comments.

Division by Zero says:


It struck me today (while stuck in traffic) how much of this fear-mongering has taken hold. My son’s school has an enrollment of a little over 600 students. This year, over 200 parents have signed up to bring their child to school and pick them up by car each day. According to the principal, 4 years ago only 54 parents were registered for dropping off and picking up their kids daily. Because little Johnny can’t be trusted to ride the bus, walk, or ride a bike to school, traffic is snarled in the neighborhood twice a day. When I was a kid, we could count on one hand the number of kids whose parents picked them up or dropped them off every day.

Sanguine Dream says:



Sociall sites create online predators.

The Ford Mustang caused the vehicular manslaughter, not the drunk driver.

It was the wild animal’s fault for mauling the hiker that was messing with her cubs.

The planes were the cause of the WTC.

That lady still had nothing to do with spilling the coffee in her lap.

Violent video games cause school violence.

I’m so glad that has all been straightened out.

And in a related note guns really do kill people.


JS says:

People old and young have been “social networking” for years before any of these media driven social networking sites ever existed. Just about anyone that has ever touched the internet has in fact chatted at some point via ICQ, Yahoo, AOL/AIM, etc etc. An ISP such as AOL sells itself well and many people use it. But what is on the inside that scares me. There are chat rooms for casual sexual encounters and other miscellaneous suggestive rooms. I don’t think chat rooms are not age restricted by default, they may be but I am not sure, if there are settings for age resriction, the people that use AOL probably wouldnt know how to enable it anyways…

So my question is why are these social networking sites getting all of the heat? IMO its about proper parenting and education about the internet for both parents and children.

bmac (profile) says:

All you yahoos

I’m not saying that MySpace is the cause of online predators, any more than jet aircraft and box cutters are the cause of the 9/11 attacks. You are just stupid if you think that’s my position.

And again, for those civil libertarians here with their heads up their arses, there just may be a pedophile on every corner. You can’t tell, and neither can I, who is good or bad. But you cant’ deny they are there, waiting for the opportunity by any means possible.

For those that say porn isn’t bad, take a look at Ted Bundy and others who said porn was their spring board to more and more heinous acts. Not to mention that women are devalued by this medium.

I monitor closely what my children do online, but I also employ a filter that blocks most everything questionable, so there’s little to no chance that they will encounter content that they are not ready to handle. And before they spend the night at their friend’s house, I will be asking how they secure their computer, if any, as well as getting to know the parents, their beliefs, etc.

One more thing: Mongorians, are you a $cientologist? Cuz you sound just like L. Ron Hubbard… Children are not inexperienced adults in small bodies. They don’t have the same level of synaptic connections built in their little brains, and aren’t capable of logical thought at a young age. You, obviously, were a prodigy, capable of amazing feats of mental strength and willpower, but most children are not.

billbeau (user link) says:

Re: All you yahoos ummm BMac? Kin yew say "duu

“I monitor closely what my children do online, but I also employ a filter that blocks most everything questionable, so there’s little to no chance that they will encounter content that they are not ready to handle. And before they spend the night at their friend’s house, I will be asking how they secure their computer, if any, as well as getting to know the parents, their beliefs, etc. “

BMac, and anyonbe else out there who’s foolish, blind, or ignorant enough to think they can control access to social networking sites, get a clue.

Here’s a link to a C/Net article you REALLY need to read.

Stop expecting someone else to take responsibility for how you raise and protect your kids. No law, or government agency, nor any handy, dandy “we’ll do it for you” type of software is going to adequately protect your kids.
It’s YOU’RE job. YOU’RE responsibility to LEARN about it and help your kids.
The digital world your kids are growing up in is what they’re growing up to live with, and just as you had to learn to deal with things your parents were frightened of (TV, cell phones, video games, beer, Playboy, Darwin, the list is endless), your kids are DIGITAL NATIVES and you are an alien in their world. It’s up to YOU to learn as much as you can about it, not just think you can “turn it off” and it will go away.
Try actually talking to your kids, instead of simply passing edicts they just feel forced to sneak around. Because they will, and very likely probably do. Surprise!

Goddamn Mongorians says:

All you yahoos

Children aren’t capable of logical thought? That’s the most absurd, asinine thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe children 8 and under have more difficulty with logical comprehension, but if anyone lets their 8 year old set up a myspace account then they deserve any ramifications that follow. Hey, maybe I was a little smarter than some people, but were kids not capable of logical thought then even simple algebra would be an impossibility. Not to mention the logic required for the use of a computer. If there is one thing that computers have taught us it is that the majority of adults greatly underestimate the intelligence of kids.

Nobody is denying that child predators aren’t there, but if you follow the argument then that same street corner should be removed because a child predator might be hanging out there waiting to solicite children. Anyone with a brain knows that the removal of street corners would be absurd. Rather, you’d educate your children not to talk to the stranger.

Also, your argument about porn being evil is extremely faulty. It’s the same propaganda that people use to demonize anything that a particular, disturbed individual uses as a “springboard”. Charles Manson used the Beatles as an excuse for his actions, are the Beatles to blame for the Manson Family’s actions?

bmac (profile) says:


Again you are missing the point. Of course we can’t remove street corners, parks, malls, etc. We attempt to take away the offender rather than the place they offend.

But when we are talking about Internet-based predation, it’s a lot harder to see who the offender is, much less deal with him/her until they’ve committed an act.

Why not make it harder for that offender to get to someone by restricting access to certain sites. When they are grown and living under their own roof, they can do whatever they please, but while I have them, they’re going to abide by the rules I place upon them.

If some creepy person is hanging around the playground while your kids are playing there, you could have taught them everything they need to know, but they can still get snatched. It’s the same with the Internet. It’s far easier to get sucked in because at first you feel you have some sense of anonymity.

Besides, if you’ll remember your own adolescence, then you should remember that you had a feeling of invincibility, that mom and dad were complete idiots, and you listened very little to their teaching.

Goddamn Mongorians says:


Actually, I think you’re missing the point entirely. YOU are doing the correct thing by not allowing your children access to the site and, hopefully, talking to them about the dangers. It’s the parents who are relying on the government to step in and do their job for them that’s the real issue..

And again, I’d like to point out, that your logic is severly flawed. We DO attempt to take away the offender rather than the place they offend, so why take away myspace? In both situations, the street corner and the internet, it’s impossible to know who the child predator is until they’ve commited the act. Also, it’s FAR easier for a child to get into trouble with the person in the park, as the person is within a close physical proximity to the child. It requires a far larger series of events for a child to be abducted or abused from an online encounter than it does from an offline one. ALSO, offline, the only thing you have to go by is eye witness accounts, there is no IP trail (yes, I know with wifi handicapped people this doesn’t always mean much but there are plenty of means of figuring out who people are online outside of an IP address.).

Let’s also not forget that the number of children who get abused by a stranger is somewhere around 4%. Who do you think makes up the other 96%?.

And why do you keep bringing me, personally, into this… as I mentioned before, I survived my online childhood experience just fine by using my own common sense as my mother knew and still knows next to nothing about computers in general.

bmac (profile) says:



I appreciate your comments; I’m not patronizing you. IMO, it’s a valuable part of this process that not only do we comment on these blogs, but we interact with each other, to hopefully come to some kind of understanding of each others’ viewpoints. I replied to you directly because you wrote in direct response to my posts.

Think of this example: Cars nowadays have 2 or more airbags, anti-lock brakes, safety cages, etc. all designed to make us safer in an accident. Now my parents got along fine without those innovations, as did I before their advent. But all new cars now come with at least some of these items standard. Not everyone will have an accident, but everyone can be protected proactively just in case.

The same can be said of restricting access to web sites for children. Just a little proactive protection where we can get it. And if the majority of voters back this type of legislation, then no one should complain. We elected those people (idiots, charlatans, etc.) in the first place, and they should be representing our ideals and needs. If they’re using issues to garner votes with no real intention of doing something, then we should see that they aren’t elected/re-elected.

Hail Xenu!

Goddamn Mongorians says:


As much as I enjoyed this dialogue, this’ll have to be my last post. I’d just like to say that the car example is, yet again, faulty. We didn’t stop people in general from driving vehicles the first time someone was killed by one. We implemented safety measures and started making driving education more extensive. We have safety measures for computers: filters and parental controls, firewalls, etc. The point, again, is that parents are using the goverment for the education and actions that they should be providing (or rather the government is giving the parents the excuse not to educate and take action). If you still think the education aspect is bs then I’m sorry, I would have hoped that would have been addressed with the comparison of the internet to street corners.

Also, people SHOULD complain. The elected officials will always use scare tactics to win votes come election time. If you think they care more about representing the people’s ideals than securing their re-election then you’re sadly mistaken. The problem is that ALL politicians use issues to garner votes, it’s the nature of the beast. If we don’t relect them then the person we do elect will simply follow suite. A wise man once said regarding elections and voting: “It always comes down to a douche and a turd.”

Frankly, people need to talk to their children about their online experience in a rational manner… making such a big fuss about not allowing kids onto social networking sites only plants the seed of desire. And as much as people would not like to believe it, kids are far smarter than most adults give them credit for. All it takes is for one kid to find a way to access the site and bypass any filters or parental controls and then the knowledge will spread.

Secret actions are far more dangerous than transparent ones.

bmac (profile) says:


This is going to make a lot of people mad, but…

Yes, it does mean that I hope everyone I know will stay away from the Catholic church. I don’t want anyone I know praying to a bunch of dead people instead of God. Further, I wouldn’t trust any priest around children. Mostly gay, repressed, frustated men who eventually get tired of their hand, and… well, you know the rest of the story. So does little Johnny, the altar boy.

Over 20 years ago, there was a report by 60 Minutes about the pedophile priest problem and how the Catholic church, to avoid costly lawsuits and publicity, would quickly pull a pedophile priest from his local church before any arrests could be made, send him to a special convent for pedophiles for treatment, and then turn him loose on another congregation hundreds or thousands of miles from the previous church, where he would start molesting children again. This was documented thoroughly by the news program and admitted by the church at the time, but it seems I’m the only person left on this planet who remembers. Now 20+ years later, everyone is SO surprised that priests have been molesting children.

And the Vatican itself has recently had to issue new policies regarding the requirements for joining seminaries, because they have become a haven for gay culture instead of the pursuit of God and the priesthood.

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