Don't Let Something Like The Truth Get In The Way Of Fear-Mongering

from the la-la-la-i'm-not-listening-to-you dept

All the scare stories about MySpace seem to be contagious, with a Philadelphia TV channel now labeling the Nintendo DS as the pedophile's best friend because of the Pictochat application that lets DS users talk to each other. Of course, the whole story is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the application and the game system's wireless connections work, but the reporter found an "Internet safety expert" to repeat the errors, so they must be true -- or at least true enough to run with. A reporter getting something like this wrong certainly isn't unique; what's interesting here is that the reporter contacted another source that explained all of this, including how the system worked and how low the risk really is but apparently chose to ignore it since the story would have been far less captivating. The application in question doesn't work over the Internet, but rather simply by connecting in an ad-hoc manner to other DS machines within 30 to 100 feet, making the likelihood of actually running into anybody using it -- let alone some sort of sexual predator -- in the wild pretty low. Of course, this "expert" talks about predators anywhere in the world using the anonymity of coffee shops to hide, making them impossible to track, oblivious to how the application works, or the fact that the WiFi on the DS can't connect to most commercial hotspots. Perhaps we're getting used to media ignorance when it comes to technology, but actively ignoring the truth is taking things a step too far.

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  • identicon
    dave, 21 Feb 2006 @ 9:57am

    hmmph

    As an American citizen, actively ignoring the "truth" is the only way I make it through the day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:14am

      Re: hmmph

      ROTFLMAO!!!

      Me Too! I'm pretty sure that this group includes all of North America...

      ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mark, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:27am

      Re: hmmph

      I have to agree, If, as an american citizen I did not ignore the horrors our country is responsible for, I would simply not be able to live with myself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Trey, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:05am

        Re: hmmph

        I have to agree, If, as an american citizen I did not ignore the horrors our country is responsible for, I would simply not be able to live with myself.

        Come on, Mark. The article is about journalists (i.e. the "media") not doing responsible reporting. What makes you think that stories about our government and Bush are exempt from irresponsible journalism?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          phillip, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:20am

          Re: hmmph

          Well sadly to say there is no truth just perspective. You can put seven people in a room and tell them the basic truth on something and all seven will leave shaking their heads that they understand and all agree on what they heard. And then turn around a tell someone there perspective on what they were just told. And you being in the room with this person would look at him/her in disbelieve. Because that is not what you got out of that speech at all it would be far from it.

          It is all about what people get out of it and their perspective on the matter. Does it justify them? Does it make them right? Does it make them wrong?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:32am

            Re: McDonald's

            Now that Nintendo has DS WiFi Hot-Spots at 90% of all McDonald's in USA, they have a better chance of picking up a kid with their Super Value Meal...

            ...unless of course the kid's parents are watching their children like they SHOULD BE doing.

            ...but no, parents prefer to ignore their kids, and then complain that no one was watching their children when little Billy/Suzie "wonders off".

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:38am

              Text the word "KIDTOY" to 5551212

              common - what kid is going to put down their Nintendo DS video game to go off with a complete stranger!?@

              And second, ask anyone with a Nintendo DS if they use that useless "Picto Chat" program - more than likely, you will hear them laugh at you. Picto Chat is next to useless!! Especially when it only goes 30 to 100 feet, and they could use a Cell-phone's Text Messaging to text the word "KIDTOY" to 5551212 and get to just about anyone around the world!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 2:22pm

      Re: hmmph

      I totally agree. What America should be doing is getting some of these welfare kids to strap bombs to their asses and go blow up innocent women and children. Oh damn, the Terrorist are already doing that. Well, As an American I say we pull out of Iraq and just send in suicide bombers. Then we will be the good guys. Oh, and we should arrest people who have or show religious symbles that are different than our main religion (fill in whatever religion you wish). And we should also do away with voting because it seems that there are about 47% of the people int his country who think when they win an election then their point of view needs to be pushed tot he front, but when they lose the elction then their point of view needs to be pushed to the front and everyone else is stupid. While I may not agree with everything we do, it is by far better than what the people we are fighting are doing. We take pictures of you naked or make you look at naked women, they cut your fucking head off. We blow up munition stashes, they blow up women and kids. Saddam tortured and killed 100,00 Iraquis a year. America is my home team. If you don't like your team, get out of the stadium. It's a free country, feel free to leave.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:35am

    typo

    "but the reporter found am "Internet safety expert" to repeat the errors"
    should be "an"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    throbi, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:37am

    why not banning loud speach??

    "within 30 to 100 feet" you can hear a "sexual predator" given that he or she speaks loud enough... And it can not be tracked, while sound recordings made in public places are sort of illegal!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:39am

    No Subject Given

    The U.S. government approves of the Nintendo DS because it monitors player activity over its ad hoc networking feature to look for players or "cells" that are using the device as a terrorist traininig tool. If some of our kids get molested, it is the price we pay to fight terrorism on our shores. Who wouldn't give up their child's innocence to prevent another 9/11?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:16am

      Re: No Subject Given

      This is the most evil remark. Obviously you are not a parent or act on your own remarks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        phillip, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:31am

        Re: No Subject Given

        I agree with "Lame ass parents cry about everything....DON'T BUY YOUR KID STUFF if you think it could harm your child! Dont spoil the fun for everybody else"

        I am a parent and is the parents responsiblity to make sure that we look into or research the thing we give our children exspecialy anything that deal with technolagyI agree with "Lame ass parents cry about everything....DON'T BUY YOUR KID STUFF if you think it could harm your child! Dont spoil the fun for everybody else"

        I am a parent of three and is the parents responsibility to make sure that we look into or research the thing we give our children especially anything that deal with technology.

        The world is a dangerous place and if you are not going to talk to your kids and explain that to them someone else will. (Gang Members, Dope heads, Sexual Predators, Etc.)

        WAKE UP!!!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ash Hunter, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:46am

    Truth in the Press

    When it boils down to it, all that a reporter cares about is "will this story sell papers". The truth is unimportant, so long as they can place the blame for lies and misinformation on their sources.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Searcher, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:02am

      Re: Truth in the Press

      The media has to be held acountable for deliberate misinformation. Like a HUGE fine for each instance of blatant lies or fudging. The gov should be all over this. It'd be a nice new steady source of income. It'd prob rival taxes!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rikko, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:10am

        Re: Truth in the Press

        Define "truth".

        I'll hazard that all media publications ever presented are true. Or, they're all not true. You can't have both - reporters can strive to be accurate but they will always be flawed in some way. A report on a murder investigation only uses a few sources of information - that definitely doesn't tell the story from every angle possible (because the information isn't public - eg. in the accused's mind). Picking and choosing your sources is exactly what has happened in this story, with the predictible consequence that somebody (us) "knows" differently.

        This is a task for philosophers, not the courts, Truth and accuracy are subjective, and it's rather dishonest of us to try and make accusations against degrees of infractions rather than that they exist at all.

        I think I can pretty well support that argument by the fact that people disagree about current events. If it were "fact", why would we argue about "what happened"?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:11am

    No Subject Given

    zomg they can play somone they have never met? THATS CRAZY TALK!!!!!!! Never before have kids been able to play against people they have never met! The DS is pure EEEEEEVIIILLLL!!!!!!!

    Seriously... how long have computer games allowed us to play people we have never met?

    I started playing starcraft online when i was around 7 or 8 and i have never been kidnapped by random internet people...

    I think instead of parents getting all worked up about their kids playing against random people on the internet, and trying to penalise the games for this, they should maybe learn how to become better parents. I know this sounds crazy but it just might work ohmy.gif .

    Maybe parent should stop trying to make the government and companys raise their children and do it themselves. Dont get me wrong, i think game ratings are a good thing and all, but the parents need to learn how to use the rating to decide if their kid should play the game. After all i think thats why they do that...

    Not just that parents need to learn how to keep track of what their kids are doing, its not that hard to sit down and talk to your kids...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dani, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:01pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      RE: anonymous coward's previous comment

      I finally agree with you on this one! If you, as a parent, make a decision to buy something for your child to use in your home, you're definetely responsible for what goes on with its use.

      And, as a parent, if you decide not to buy the product, should have enough sense to know somebody's parent bought it and your child will be using it without you. So teach your kid what to do.

      It is not the governments responsibility to raise our kids, but I think we should be able to rely on all levels of government to help protect our children.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dani, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:07pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Anonymous Coward:
        I agree with you, but you don't have to stereotype parents.

        We're not all like the trailer trash you're obviously use to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:24pm

          Re: No Subject Given

          Just so everyone knows: Many trailer trash do own a computer, have internet connections, and read techdirt [/sarcasm]

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:13am

    No Subject Given

    Lame ass parents cry about everything....DON'T BUY YOUR KID STUFF if you think it could harm your child! Dont spoil the fun for everybody else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Media Competence, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:29am

    I like this quote

    "Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder."

    Laurence J. Peter

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt, 21 Feb 2006 @ 3:14pm

    No Subject Given

    No matter how many people try and take away things like this from kids, no matter how "hard" they try and make things for paedophiles, it will never work.

    The more you try and stop them, the more determined they get. No level of restriction will stop them from scoping out schools and nabbing a young girl.

    The best thing to do would be to keep a good eye on your children, and if you don't want paedos using their Nintendo as a way of getting at them, take it away. For the record, no child has been molested as a result of using his Nintendo (I assume it would have hit the MSM, or at least gaming news sites), and only a few gullible (read: stupid) teenage girls have been roped in by predators on MySpace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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