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Four families whose underage daughters were sexually abused after meeting people they encountered on the social networking site MySpace have sued News Corp., the site's parent company, alleging it was negligent in not creating safety measures to protect younger users
MySpace announced Wednesday that it was developing software to allow parents to see if their children were creating multiple profiles -- one to show to their folks, another to show to the rest of the world. Dubbed Zephyr, the parental tools are expected to be available this summer.
Never come across a solitary soul that thought differently.
Fact is, neither kids, nor their parents, always know WHICH BITS are safe and whch are not.
By simply repaeting the mantra 'it's parental responsibility', rather than accepting ANY responsibility, it's only a matter of time before the bureaucrats impose some stupid, half-*ssed rules that mess it all up for everybody.
Like turkeys voting for Christmas ...
MySpace has dragged her feet, on acting. This isn't new to social networks. Twenty years ago social networks were called BBS, it just happens to be fancier today. BBSes had the same exact problems regarding content, abuse, and crime.
Families need to take responsibility for their behavior online. Parents & guardians need to get off their laurels, and parent. Children/teenagers need to be put in their places, and accept their position within the family and society.
This triggers so many concerns in my mind, I better stop now....
the internet was not designed as a playground for children
But that is partially what it has become, whether we like it or not. It wasn't designed to sell things either but we have figured that out pretty well. Lamenting what it was never meant to be is akin to lamenting the "good old days" when a quality website contained hundreds of dancing hamsters.
iBILL, you're a smart and experienced guy and programmer. Can you think of any measures MySpace might have employed to either detect or reduce the risk of predatory behavior by adults or dangerous behavior by minors?
As webwork pointed out there isn't really any good way, from a programming standpoint, to "protect" minors.
MySpace thought of some - eventually. It was only fairly recently that they stopped allowing adult members to contact minors and view their profiles. And they only took this simple, obvious protective measure after many complaints. Sounds like gross negligence to me.
They created a site that facilitated predatory behavior. Adults could search for children as young as 14 in the category "dating". They could even browse by school, for god's sake.
They point is that they created this environment and were WAY to slow to make a reasonable effort (any effort at all) to protect it's younger members.
The difference is that MySpace and its corporate parent are a visible target with deep pockets. Big companies are held to a higher standard by litigation and regulation, or the fear of those actions.
I think MySpace will continue to take steps, some substantive, some for show, to demonstrate they are a responsible corporate citizen. At the very least, they will have to employ best practices for maintaining privacy and preventing predation. (That's not to say they will be 100% effective.)
Going back to the park metaphor... If your park is dark and unmonitored, crimes will occur and you will get sued. If your park is well-lit at night and patrolled frequently by security, you'll both cut down on crime and create a defense against premises liability suits if and when a crime does occur.
We all need to be involved, ever-vigilant, and press our peers, our business leaders and government officials to think in the best interest of both mankind and ensuring all have life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Ironically, by giving our children too much liberty too young and giving them more than they can handle, we are possibly denying them these God-given rights in the future. And for God's sake, let us all exercise our right to vote!
Hook up NBC with NewsCorp and let Dateline do their next "To Catch a Predator" using MySpace. Both sides win (one gets paid, one gets ratings) and I bet you it will at least catch a few eyes, both among the child-rearing public and the possible predators.
As far as what's in it for teens who use MySpace? They can help create a safer playground for all (i.e. their friends) by cooperating with this effort. Maybe throw in some college scholarships for degrees in criminal justice for those that really assist and help bring some of the offenders to justice?