Studies

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
predators, social networks



Turns Out Social Networks Aren't Breeding Grounds For Sexual Predators

from the won't-stop-politician-grandstanding dept

Over the past few years there has been a huge number of grandstanding politicians claiming that social networks like Facebook and MySpace were breeding grounds for online predators, who were trying to entice children. They've been pushing for new laws, basically so they can get into the papers along with some quip about how they are out there protecting "the children." Of course, it turns out that the entire premise is faulty. A few years back we pointed to a study that showed the problem was entirely exaggerated. Very few kids were approached by predators and most who were could easily brush it off, so long as they had been educated about the risks. Now there's a new study out going even deeper in noting that sexual predators are unlikely to pretend to be teenagers using social networks, but rather are very upfront about who they are and what they want. In most cases, the victims knew that they were chatting with an older person, and believed that they were in a legitimate relationship, rather than being tricked. Once again, this suggests that all the hype and new laws being proposed to deal with the "problem" of predators on social networks are misplaced. The focus should be on basic education. Teach kids to have some "internet smarts" and they're probably going to be just fine.

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  1. identicon
    Etch, 19 Feb 2008 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Does Techdirt ever say anything constructi

    Its sad how little time parents spend with their kids these days. But who can blame them? I don't have kids yet, but the moment I get home from work I'm so exhausted that I turn off my Blackberry, lock myself in my room to get some peace and quiet, and forget about my day at work! If I had kids, the easiest thing for me to do is turn on the TV to distract them and go into my room and pass out.

    But then I reserve no right to blame anyone else for my kids growing up not prepared to face the real world.

    All you have to be is a good role model at home, so your kids don't go looking for Role Models in "50 Cent" and "Paris Hilton".

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