Not All MySpace Teens Privacy Dimwits

from the where-is-Doctor-Spock dept

Many of the stories discussing social networking sites and sexual predators paint the sites in a negative light, portraying teenagers as doe-eyed automatons without a whit of common sense. A new study shows that teenagers are actually pretty wise about what kind of information they're sharing online. The study shows that the vast majority of teenagers don't show their full name, and 40% keep their profiles private unless you're on their friends list. Of the remaining public profiles, just 1% offered an e-mail address. What's more, researchers found that kids gain confidence as well as valuable writing, networking and HTML skills while using the sites. As it stands, it's not clear if the warnings and scary reports are to thank for careful kids, or whether they were being careful all along, and nobody bothered to study them. Many parents have been eager to focus on the negative aspects of social networking sites -- even going so far as to blame MySpace for sexual predators. In the end of course it comes down to quality parenting -- informed kids not only reduce their risk of problems online regardless of the technology used, they know what to do when problems do occur. While there are kids who still stick forks in electrical sockets, we don't blame the electrical sockets -- we ask why the parents weren't paying attention to what their kids were doing.

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  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 5 Jan 2007 @ 4:14pm

    -5 uninformative

    This looks like the usual condescending trash you'd expect from USA today.

    From TFA

    "Experts warn that sites like leave underage users prey to unwanted sexual advances.."

    Experts eh? Well that settles it, who could argue with "experts". Credentials anyone? Names? Sources?

    "The authors of the unpublished study did find that 5% posted pictures of themselves in bathing suits or underwear. Also, 15% of the profiles viewed showed friends in bathing suits or underwear."

    Skipping quickly over the issue of the "study" (they looked at MySpace) being "unpublished" (and hence carrying no acedemic weight whatsoever since it obviously hasn't been reviewed) we find that sexually active teenagers like to show off their bodies. Perhaps if they were not repressed by the double standards of a puritanical home and school life and actually able to go outside their houses to meet other teenagers socially they might not feel the urge to. Or maybe they would anyway, given that they are exposed to a shallow cult of narcissistic celebrity "supermodel" freaks that give them impossible standards of physical stature and are then encouraged to emulate said celebrities while being berrated by their peers for not being what they will never be.

    "MySpace has some safeguards in place, such as prohibiting youngsters 13 and under from setting up accounts "

    Good job the honour system works so well on the internet isn't it.

    "However, some underage users create false profiles and misrepresent their ages, Hinduja said."

    I think it's a blessing that God created intellectuals of such acute wit as Hinduja, we would truly be lost without them. What has todays youth become? I never would have done that.

    "The researchers say they were motivated to do the study after negative media scrutiny created a frenzy among parents and teachers to ban youngsters from using MySpace"

    Bollocks. They got a research grant to surf MySpace. Layabout hippes.

    "The researchers encourage parents to log online with their children and visit their child's profile with them."

    The only sensible words in the entire article.

    "Researchers also underscore several benefits that users gain from having MySpace profiles. MySpace users learn HTML coding,"

    About as much use a chocolate teapot by the time they grow up.

    " with friends and find other MySpace users with similar interests"

    Pretending to be another 18 y/o supermodel with l337 HTML coding

    ""The benefits far outweigh any potential risks," Patchin said."

    Yeah, because the "risks" are as close to zero as makes no difference. Anything compared to zero "far outweighs" it. They are more at risk of choking on junk food or electrocuting themselves on the outlet when they plug in their games console (both those things happened to kids in the last 24 hours).

    The usual do-good know-nothing pundits pontificating about issues with which they are completely out of touch.

    Classy research.

    Who paid for this again?

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