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MySpace Fears, Just Another Backlash? 308

An anonymous reader writes "Wired takes a hard look at all the hype about MySpace being a danger to teens, and concludes it's just another backlash against technology and youth culture. The most damning evidence against MySpace are the recent cases of men arrested for dating underage girls they met through the site, but statistically these cases are a drop in the bucket. From the article: 'In fact, with a reported population of 57 million users, MySpace is arguably safer from such crime than other communities that haven't been the subject of the same scrutiny. One example: California, which averaged 62 statutory rape convictions per month in the late 90s, in a state population of 33 million.'"
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MySpace Fears, Just Another Backlash?

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @09:41AM (#14815962)
    And we all know the internet is the place where all the creepy and dangerous people are. Watch your TV, it tells you so! Or don't you believe anymore what you see on TV?

    Free expression, free opinion, thinking for yourself? What for, when you can have Fox?
  • by DerGeist ( 956018 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @09:49AM (#14816011)

    This is the same hype as when phone chat rooms came out, that pedophiles were going to run wild and eat children alive, and kids would be able to play "phone pranks" while running loose in the street, drunk at 2 a.m. while having unprotected sex with seven STD-infested prostitutes. It's all nonsense, cooked up to sell magazines.

    Anyway, good call.

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @10:05AM (#14816094)
    And we all know the internet is the place where all the creepy and dangerous people are. Watch your TV, it tells you so! Or don't you believe anymore what you see on TV?

    Back when I was younger I wasn't allowed to watch "You Can't do That on Television" and the Simpsons. I wasn't allowed to have an Nintendo (or a "game machine" as my father called it). Instead I was told to go play with my computer.

    Boy have times changed ;)
  • Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RealBeanDip ( 26604 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @10:31AM (#14816276)
    From TFA: Concerns over the site fall generally into two categories: unease over the type of content teens are posting, and fear of the type of people they're meeting.

    This misses the point: MySpace has numerous "polls" and other crap that asks kids questions which destroy their privacy. Kids being kids don't see the danger in having a permanent public record about themselves and routinely answer questions like whether or not they drink, do drugs and have sex. Coupled with the ease in which they disclose their age, where they live and where they go to school, kids disclose all sorts of information online they shouldn't and make it easy to tie the myspace account to an actual human.

    This isn't limited to MySpace, but MySpace asks the questions and prompts kids to reveal this information.

    I also don't question whether or not schools have the right to block MySpace at the firewall, they do and should do so if they deem it isn't of educational value. Computers and the 'net are in school to support curriculum, not to meet your buddies online and chat with.

  • by Fishstick ( 150821 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @10:37AM (#14816322) Journal
    Yeah, I had the misfortune to be flipping channels the other morning and they had an 'expert' on that was spouting admonishments to parents that kids didn't need to have "personal web pages on these online communites. ever.", and maybe they didn't need to be on the computer at all, in fact.

    She started off with some reasonable advice: put the computer in a central, common area where you could keep tabs on how much time they spent and what they were doing -- get involved and educate yourself about things so you can understand what your child is doing and give them guidance about what is safe and acceptible use of the computer.

    Then she dove into this thing about how these online communities made it easy for predators to search for your child by age and location. She basically said you shouldn't allow your kid to have any personal web space at all. She also posited that kids should turn off the computer alltogether and go outside.

    The host on CNN didn't ask any critical questions, lapped it all up and wholeheartedly thanked her for enlightening the unwashed masses.

  • by nanoakron ( 234907 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @10:43AM (#14816362)
    I may go down in a ball of flames for this but...

    I honestly believe statutory rape is not real rape. It's all religious dogma masked by political posturing. Let's say I'm 21 and married to a 16 year old. Yep, that's legal in most of Europe. And we're having sex too (this is /. so you know this ain't real).

    We fly out to the states for our honeymoon and bam I can be locked up for 5 years.


    Do girls really only become women in the US at 18 but in most of Europe at 16? 14 in the Netherlands?

    Or is there an element of prudishness mixed with a lack of political will to look soft on anything with 'rape' in the title.

    Real rape is a horrific deprivation of a woman's right to choose and consent to an intimate act. Statutory rape is a politician telling a woman she has no right to consent.

    62 cases of statutory rape per month in California says more about a need to change the age of consent than it does the presence of predatory adults.

  • by NickFitz ( 5849 ) <slashdot.nickfitz@co@uk> on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @11:14AM (#14816611) Homepage

    Moral Panic []

  • by cmpalmer ( 234347 ) * on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @11:45AM (#14816904) Homepage
    That's exactly what concerns me as well. I've read profiles of kids that my kids know and some of them are smart enough not to post risque pictures of themselves and know some of the basics of online safety (one 14 or 15yo girl posing in a bikini top, holding a condom, and winking aside). Yes, they cuss, gossip, and talk about sex - I know they do that everywhere else as well. The profiles and surveys, though, tend to give away a lot of information.

    As I told my daughter, even if you don't post your pictures or reveal info about yourself intentionally, there are lots of ways to piece together info.
    I said, "What if your picture isn't online, but you post that you're meeting Brittany, Lindsey, and Paris (not their real names) at the food court on Friday night. Their profiles are linked, they've posted pictures of themselves and you, and you've all answered the questionnaires on your likes and dislikes. Then Friday, some guy comes up and says he's Nicole's (who isn't there) cousin and he's a big fan of so-and-so and really loves the same movies you do and know's all of your names. Can you see that this could potentially be a scary situation? Here's a guy in real life who acts like he knows you and knows more about you than a stranger possibly should and you know nothing about him. What is he asked y'all to leave to mall to go meet Nicole and some of your other friends?"

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.