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MA Attorney General Seeks Myspace Changes 292

kaufmanmoore writes "Massachusetts' Attorney General Tom Reilly is saying that Myspace is not doing enough to protect children from sexual predators and is calling for action. The biggest proposal is to change the minimum age from 14 to 18 with an age verification system, but also to respond to all reports of inappropriate content within 24 hours and significantly raise the number of staff who review images and content." From the article: "The arrest Tuesday of a 27-year-old man in Connecticut on charges of illegal sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl he met through MySpace underlines the risks of the fast-growing Internet site that boasts about 60 million members."
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MA Attorney General Seeks Myspace Changes

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  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @06:07PM (#15266336) Journal
    Tom Reilly is running for governor, in a campaign where his first choice for lieutenant governor turned out to have not paid federal taxes, state taxes, property taxes or parking tickets for the last several years, and then dropped out of the race to spend more time with her family, all within 24 hours of being picked. (She's still a state rep, and on the Ways and Means Committee, no less, but apparently you don't need to pay taxes to hold that position.)

    Anyway, thus Tom Reilly's sudden concern about MySpace...

  • by NtroP ( 649992 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @06:22PM (#15266449)
    I've got a teenage daughter (17) who's had a MySpace account for a long time now. I monitor it as best I can (along with all her internet activity) and keep myself involved in her life. She spends a lot more time on MySpace than I'd prefer, but I've not seen any particularly disagreeable interaction take place on her site. Some of her "friends" are older than I'd let her date and make remarks to her online that they'd never do in my hearing (and live to tell about it), but that's part of growing up and learning to deal with it "one step removed" like this seems alright to me. I did see one user attempt to get her to sneek out of the house one night to meet him, but she obviously knew him personally and handled it correctly ("No way. My Dad will kill me if I get caught - and then he'd kill you!").

    I know she'd be crushed if it was taken away from her until she was 18. It's one "social" activity she is involved in where I don't have to worry about her getting involved with drinking or drugs or worse...

    Protecting my child is my responsibility as a parent - not the State's - and not MySpace. That being said, if I, as a parent, contact MySpace with a concern about my daughter's account they'd better damn well sit up and take notice!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, 2006 @06:22PM (#15266451)
    As nice as dreamweaver is, it isn't the be-all end-all of things. Just another IDE type with convenient ways to do a few things.

    Anyhoo, the main point is that I knew someone who was dubbed a natural because he knew how to use dreamweaver. I had to maintain his code afterwards and it was a mess. Nested tables are nested tables regardless of whether they were written using Frontpage, Dreamweaver, or vi.

    CSS classes are a lot like variables -- give them meaningful names. class1, class2, and class3 don't count as good names...but dreamweaver will gladly supply it.

    In the end, the tools used to build web pages don't count as much as the thought and effort put into building them.

    Yes, myspace looks scary aesthetically...but even notepad can fix that. Dreamweaver ain't an excuse for good judgment.
  • Right... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Matilda the Hun ( 861460 ) <flatsymcnoboobs <at> leekspin <dot> com> on Thursday May 04, 2006 @06:23PM (#15266456) Homepage
    So people fill out their age as 18 instead of 14. So what? It says in the article snippet right there that someone was going after a 13-year-old, and that's below the current minimum age. What are they going to do, force people to use credit cards to verify their age? MySpace could put the age at 80, and people would say that they're 80. Welcome to the real world.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @06:35PM (#15266550) Homepage Journal
    And here's his campaign website [tomreilly.org], oozing sanctimony about protecting the children.

    Meanwhile, here's what he does when two minors are killed in a car crash [boston.com]
  • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @07:30PM (#15266926)
    Even putting that aside, these arguments are ridiculous. We have a problem of kids being subjected to predators on a website. The state has a duty (not even just a right, a duty) to ensure that if there are unacceptable risks, safeguards are put in place to assure that we've done all we reasonably can to protect the children. This is bad how?

    First off, it's bad because it obscures the problem. Parenting is an obligation, and that obligation rests with the parents. The fact that most parents are busy, or tired, or spend too much time working doesn't lessen that obligation. Life sucks.

    Second, it changes the problem. Kids who are taken advantage or molested are most often the victim of a family member or relative. The internet bogeyman is one in a million. Unfortunately for the Nancy Grace's of the world, it's tough to create a useful hysteria over a family member. The girl who is currently testifying before Congress about her ordeals was adopted. She's angry and upset that her pictures are floating around the internet, but the media would have us believe the problem is somehow with the "billion-dollar kiddy porn internet business" (a real quote), and not with her abusive father.

    Third, an emotional subject often encourages emotional reactions. If no one can think rationally and clearly, or if lawmakers insist on pandering to their base using hot-button topics, nothing useful or constructive is accomplished. Moreover, the discussions that do occur in such an environment often take the form of "If you're not on our side, you're on the side of predators." Hardly a recipe for success.

    And last, over-reacting and hastily making well-intentioned changes will result in unexpected consequences. If thinking of the children results in widepsread government involvement and routine invasion of privacy and loss of rights, I'd suggest we stop thinking of them as children altogether.
  • by rossifer ( 581396 ) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:07PM (#15267414) Journal
    Anyone who can write a post this personal and insightful on so many levels gets big props from me. I know it doesn't mean all that much, but you just got added to my friend list.

    Good parents make for good kids/communities/countries/worlds. Thanks for making the world a little better place. If you're ever in the vicinity of Los Angeles, you've got a beer on me.

    My name is Ross Bagley and my email address is: <firstname><at><firstname><lastname><dot><com>


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