Tuesday, February 27, 2007

MySpace - A parental nightmare

A US Federal Judge says that MySpace is legally protected from any liability as a result of external criminal acts that have been committed by people misrepresenting themselves to other MySpace users. Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western district of Texas ruled that the 1996 Communications Decency Act excludes web providers and ‘information intermediaries’ from the action of their members when it comes to criminal acts involving content. This is intended to protect service providers from being put out of business by never ending lawsuits resulting from the actions of people over whom they have no real control. Read More

Just recently a situation came up in a family I know. A teen had been corresponding with someone claiming to be 'out of state' and 'close in age' - so the teen, after what I would consider to be a brief correspondence history, gave this stranger a phone number and thus began a line of verbal communication.

I suppose the thing that torments me most about this issue is that if I am geek enough to be able to take a phone number and map myself right to a persons front door, then how many others out there are capable of doing the same?

Also, just because a phone number is given and it checks out to be an 'out of state' number, does that necessarily mean the person is out of state and not quite possibly a few doors away?

I just don't think teens take these situations seriously enough.

I'd be interested in hearing some of your experiences, how you handle them and how you get it through the thick skull of a teen that the internet, though a fun place to hang out, can be a very dangerous place just the same.


Angela said...

It's about Parents keeping a better eye on their kids IMHO. No, we can't always be with them but we can take some extra steps to make sure they are doing what they say they are going to do.

I don't think MySpace should be held accountable for HOW people are using MySpace. It's not the MySpace that is bad it's the people that are using MySpace that aren't necessarily good.

It's just like stepping outside your front door. Do your kids have enough stranger danger training to know what to do in certain situations? It's the same thing with MySpace.

Gayla -- make sure you check out my Oh Baby Baby blog because I posted about online safety for kids as well as the hoopla over the Girl Scouts of America using MySpace to maret their cookies.