Studies Say MySpace Safe For Kids, But Don't Expect Politicians To Care

from the don't-let-the-facts-get-in-the-way dept

It’s no secret that MySpace has become a favorite target of politicians looking to demonize the latest threat to children. Since there have been a few instances of MySpace-borne sexual assault, it’s not hard to see why politicians latched on to the site. But, apart from a few cherry-picked examples, it’s not clear that MySpace actually poses any meaningful danger to children. The EFF points to a pair of recent studies that dispute the notion that MySpace represents dangerous territory for children. According to one of them, unwanted online solicitations are actually down since 1999, which would contradict the idea that the rise of sites like MySpace, has been a boon for those that would prey on children. The other study, which looked directly at MySpace found that the vast majority of users have never been the subject of unwelcome advances, and that those who have received them are quite capable of simply ignoring them. Of course, political witch hunts are rarely the result of anything rational, so it’s unlikely that these pesky facts will do much to deter politicians.

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Comments on “Studies Say MySpace Safe For Kids, But Don't Expect Politicians To Care”

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Nicholas (user link) says:


Maybe it’s not exactly getting kids raped all the time, but with the way it makes them act (and MySpace isn’t going to stop them), who can blame child predators for loving the environment it provides? MySpace and politicians shouldn’t be parenting your children. You should be parenting your children. If your 13 year old daughter is taking photos of herself in her bra and putting them on her MySpace, that’s probably not okay behavior, and you need to put an end to it. Simple as that.

With that said, MySpace needs to take steps to make it easier to report inappropriate content, as well as define a clear “constitution” for what exactly is and isn’t allowed on someone’s MySpace. As it is, MySpace support completely sucks, and hardly responds quickly. I won’t even get into the security nightmares involving user-placed content on webpages..

Anonymous Coward says:

I whole heartedly agree with previous comments about raising kids. I know when I was a kid, if I did half the stuff I see on myspace, my Mom would have beat me so hard my grand kids would still be fealing it. And I’m in my early 20’s.
But perhaps the more pressing issue, is that its all happening so fast, perhaps “yellow journalism” against myspace and the like is a good thing, b/c it spurs action in parents. Or atleast I would like to think it does.
But we are correct, there is a clear probelm with overt sexuality in younger and younger kids, and we need to do something about it. I don’t know what, but I think death to child molesters is a good start.

Anthony says:

Overused and abused

Being a “corrupted youth” myself, I can say that Myspace (or any other networking site), really poses no threat for anyone with some common sense. having used it for almost five years now and with more personal information than my parents would like (though not enough to pose any threat to my safety), I believe it safe to say I have expierence in this matter. And out of those five years, the worst “advance” I’ve got was a friend request from some profile with a picture of a chick in a bikini. Now, according to the news sources, what I should have done is friend ‘her’, proceed to divulge all of personal information, agree to meet her, and get sexually molested, eventually ending up on the news. What did I do? I deleted the request. End of story.
Myspace itself isn’t dangerous, just stupidity. The media (and politicians) should really lay off it since they are much worse about certain unsolicited advances. *cough*political campaigns*cough*

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: by Gunnar

“I never really thought Myspace was that bad, but my dad works at a public library. One day when I went to visit him, I looked at the bank of computers full of high school kids.

Each kid was looking at a myspace page.”

So it’s bad because it’s popular? I’m confused. What worries me more about that situation is that the kids are at the library looking at it rather then at home. This tells me 1 of 3 things is happening. First, maybe they just browsed it while doing research for a paper, that’s not a bad thing. Second possibility, they do not have computers at home, this worries me since it should be a priority to get everyone educated and using computers. Third possibility is the most frightening to me, maybe the parents won’t let them look at it at home so they are at the library. The kids operating on reason 3 are the ones that will have a much higher chance of running into trouble. Their parents are not functioning in a guardian role, since out of sight is out of mind, and the kids are uneducated to the threats and unsupervised.

What it boils down to is that social sites are no different then a club activity. Kids are at risk everywhere, but removing them from the scene all together does nothing to “protect” them. Parents need to keep track of their kids, or not have any if they can’t manage that, and they need to make sure their current on the new trends.

I have a my space profile, should I worry about being raped? Some how I’m not losing any sleep over it. Am I worried about younger relatives or teenagers that I know? Not really, they all have common sense, beaten into them from parents who are in touch with reality.

Parents should have explained to their children that there are bad people and they are looking to hurt you. A lot of those kids who are so sheltered that their parents do not tell them this are the ones that get taken advantage of by dates when they get to collage or get loured into a car with candy. This idea that the solution to all the problems in the world is to remove the kids from anything that might be hazardous is insane and obviously ineffectual.

People need to pull their heads out of the sand and BE PARENTS.

Gunnar says:

Re: Re: by Gunnar

No, not only because it’s popular. Because it’s so worthlessly popular. Like reality television.

It’s not 1, every station was a high school kid looking at myspace. 30+ kids in a public library with 30+ screens looking at their friends garrish personal pages.

It’s not 3, cause a kid would just wait till the parent wasn’t around to go to myspace. And, kids with computers generally know there’s more to the internet than myspace.

I use myspace to keep track of band’s tour dates and new music. I also have friends on it that I can contact if I happen to lose their phone numbers or email addresses.

I work at a school where most kids don’t have computers at home. The only thing these kids want to use computers for is Myspace, which is its real danger. These kids at the library are from the inner city (where the library is) and probably don’t have computers at home.

UniBoy says:

Educating Kids...

Everybody thinks its so EASY. Just tell your kids what to do, and they will follow it…

Sounds like advice from people with no kids. Or, at least not kids of a certain age. Try hard to remember back 5 or 10 years to when you were a teenager. Did YOU follow everything your parents told you?

It is no problem for kids to hear repeatedly that online social sites, where anonymous people can easily pretend to be what they are not, can pose dangers. Hell, THAT is part of the ATTRACTION.

Not that I think politicians or pointless laws can do anything to help the problem. But awareness (not fear-mongering) and education are reasonable approaches to keeping kids safe. I am also pretty certain that lots of kids need to hear it more than once before it sinks in too!

Anonymous Coward says:

to inform you guys….

implementation of an “Age Verification” system isn’t meant to be 100% compliant. no system is 100% compliant.

putting up road blocks to check for drunk driving isn’t 100% compliant, some slip by, or aren’t checked at all. however, i still want the checks for those drivers that it does catch.

everybody who doesn’t want to go through the effort/check of an Age Verification system screams that it’s not 100% accurate. that’s not the arguement. the real issue is does it manage to get some kids off the sites, or direct them to sites where they might be more at ease…


|333173|3|_||3 says:

MySpace web design (or lack of it)

The average mySpace page is so hard to read that it makes my head hurt. At my old school , MySpace is on the way out, b/c of the crpa and spam and all the rest, and nothing to do with oersonal informatioion or dangers, since you are safer posting your details o MySpace than wandering thropugh the parklands in my city after dark each night for an month, in terms of the chances of getting threatened or recieving unwanted advances.

annie says:

Parents let me ask you this do you not trust that your kids are smart enough to just ignore it.Besides there is a safe block where only the friends of their smart choice can look!So why not?If your child is retarded enough to put their actual name and address and age well then i can see the problem.I have it where i check my childs myspace every day so then i can see if there is any crap going on.And if you really don’t care what your child does on the internet then thats your problem.So my point is let them have a myspace but also keep a watchful eye.I’m sure 75% of kids out there are smart .

lacy says:


theres so much wrong with the world today!! you cant blame a website for human stupidity. the “sexual assault that was myspace driven” is BULLSHIT! if 14 year old youngins werent half naked posting pics that say do me! then there wouldnt be this problem! theres a block button if you have problems with any one. im amazingly pissed off right now because here i sit at school and i cant check my myspace. summer school is bad enough as it is and to top it off EVERY sight is blocked. i’ve tried at least 30 in the past 10 minutes. nothing is working and I HATE PEOPLE!!!

lexers says:

I mean Myspace isnt bad, parents need to chill out and talk to their kids about the safety tools they can use[ Myspace offers a lot of safety tools].My mom let me have one then when she said about someone not getting the interview because of it I got angry and had to delete it. Please Tom go to the public and give YOUR side of the stpry

...... says:

my mom made me delete my myspace because i didnt tell her about it. i know now that i was too young to have one.

i came accross this page because i was looking for an article or blog to help me convince her that myspace is safe.

i think some of these comments will help persuade her.

and yes i aggree that there are plenty of ways to keep away from predators. if you dont a person who adds you… dont add them! it all makes perfect sense.

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