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Posted by danah boyd
I’ve been thinking a lot about how anti-MySpace propaganda has been rooted in the culture of fear. Given that youth play a critical, but different, role in social software, i suspect that folks might be interested in how MySpace is getting perceived as a scary, scary place.
Growing up in a culture of fear: from Columbine to banning of MySpace looks at how mainstream media is inciting moral panic around youth participation in public spaces. The article is framed around the ban of MySpace in certain schools. MySpace blamed for alienated youth’s threats follows up on this, looking specifically at how Columbine-esque situations are still not being addressed for their core problem: youth alienation. Instead, we’re still blaming the technology.
+ TrackBacks (1) | Category: social software
1. Catrina on November 11, 2005 10:19 PM writes...
I am on myspace.com and I am 18 years old, the original age limit for myspace.com was 16 and up. Then kids started to get upset about there unfair treatment. The fact of the matter is that no one is safe on the internet but 14 year olds and below are especially dangerous. They are too trusting and give out personal information to that "cute guy" or "hot girl" too quickly. Personally I think that the age limit should be set to 18 and up and younger members be banned just for safety reasons.
2. Jessica on November 12, 2005 5:21 PM writes...
I'm reading "The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life," by Michael Thompson. (He co-authored Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys.)
I think he characterizes parental panic with a lot of empathy and grace, but as a school psychologist he is very effective at pointing out how random acts of violence, like administrators and parents causing kids to shut down their social life on MySpace, are Bad.
I wonder how many parents would be okay with having their risks managed so severely?
3. kris on November 13, 2005 9:57 AM writes...
Re: Jessica's comment - "I wonder how many parents would be okay with having their risks managed so severely?"
Our risks ARE managed severely - it's called consequences. And consequences are something young people are not mature enough to consider when their curiosity, insecurity, hormones, and desire to fit in are leading them by the nose.
4. zephoria on November 13, 2005 12:57 PM writes...
Kris - this is precisely the kind of ageist rhetoric that is causing us so much difficulty. Everyone experiences consequences - that's how we learn from our mistakes. Teens feel the consequences of doing stupid things, but so do adults. Both groups also do a terrible job of evaluating the potential consequences. Unfortunately, the damage caused by adults lacking foresight is often detrimental to more people than what happens when youth lack foresight in evaluation. Look around at adults who cheat on their spouses. Look at Enron.
Curiosity, insecurity, hormones and a desire to fit in influence everyone - for better AND for worse. Seriously, look around at adult culture and see how many terrible decisions are made because of personal insecurity or a desire to be validated by colleagues or one's boss.
What you're preaching is the kind of stereotype that is oppressive. Youth are no different than adults in this way - they are simply at a different stage in their learning and their consequences have more personal ramifications while adults' consequences tend to have broader social ramifications.
5. Scott Allen on November 14, 2005 12:14 AM writes...
It ultimately boils down to a matter of parental responsibility. Simple banning is the easy way out. The fact of the matter is that a child who knows how to handle themselves will be safe on MySpace, and one who doesn't won't be 100% safe on Neopets or Habbo. Parents, it's up to you to teach your children how to handle themselves safely -- don't fool yourself by thinking that prohibiting a few sites, or even installing filtering software, will protect your child. The ONLY thing that will truly make them safe is teaching them using the facts, not scare tactics.
That said, despite the fact that there's not supposed to be, I see plenty of R-rated pictures on MySpace. I really can't fault a parent for deciding that much of the content easily available on MySpace is inappropriate for a 13-year-old. But don't make it a bogus safety issue -- address safety at the source, not the symptom.
6. kris on November 18, 2005 8:03 PM writes...
So...it occurs to me that, of all the comments to this post, I'm the only one who acknowledges actually having kids.
Do any of the rest of you have children? Are you speaking from a position of credibility? Are you someone who is actually putting his own kid in the line of danger fully confident that your 'teaching' is going to see your kid through the danger zone when you're not there?
The arrogance of preaching parental responsibility when yoiu are, in fact, not a parent is mind-boggling. I get the same feeling here that I get when I discuss political issues with people who don't vote.
7. kris on November 18, 2005 8:05 PM writes...
8. Casey on November 24, 2005 1:09 PM writes...
Kris, you are right in that you are the only commentator to acknowledge that you have children. I don't, but that in no way means that I do not recognize good parenting vs. bad parenting. All of us were children at one time, and we can all look back at our parent(s) and see how we were reared. I certainly feel entitled to discuss child-safety, parenting, and other issues involving children and the risks entailed, etc, by virtue of the knowledge that one day, I will have to be nursed and fed by the current generation of young kids. All of us have a stake in the children of the world; they will care for us when we are too old and decrepit to do for ourselves.
That being said, I certainly do not feel qualified to tell you or any other parent how to rear your children. They are your kids, and as a parent, you know them better than anyone; indeed, better than they know themselves. I will be 39 years old in two weeks, and my parents are still better at predicting my behavior than I am. Both of my brothers have children, and although I listen to them, and help console when their children give them grief, I would never, and don't, attempt to tell them what they should do to rear their kids. I ain't necessarily patting myself on the back for my own restraint, here. I don't offer my brothers parenting advice, simply because both of them have made it clear to me and everyone else that they themselves are operating in the dark, without an instruction manual. Apparently, child-rearing is the most difficult thing in the world to do well; and for "good" parents, the main issue that keeps them awake at night.
With regard to "parental responsibility" I have as much right to comment on the topic as you or any other parent. I am given that right because my life is directly affected by how you raise your own children. I may not interact with your children today, but after they are grown and out of your house, society will be dealing with them. Childhood is the time to make good citizens of the world, not middle or old age. I have no qualms about discussing the issue, or in deciding what I, as a citizen, feel is my fair burden when it comes to protecting your child from the evils of the world. When issues such as Columbine, MySpace, etc enter the public domain, I am certainly entitled to make my voice heard in the debate over what should be done by the government/society to protect children; and myself from the children of others.
The fact remains that parents are entirely and wholly responsible for everything that happens to their children, as well as the actions of their children while living under the parent's roof. This has nothing to do with the government, my opinions, or the thoughts and opinions of anyone on the planet. It is just a simple fact. You brought 'em into this world, and you are responsible for them until they are 18. I can say this with credibility, because I have a few million years of evolution to back me up. Humans have the longest childhood of any mammal. For at least 18 years, the parent is the most qualified entity to care for the child. Society has a role in helping parents to do their job, but on an individual basis, the responsibility is yours, bubba. If your 14-year-old picks up a gun and shoots people at school, I'm gonna look to you and ask, "How could this happen? Where did you go wrong?", in full knowledge that I am asking the responsible party. The right to point fingers at parents is not reserved only to other parents, not when all of us are affected. Non-parents are not, and should not be excluded from the debate, since we have a stake in it, too.
9. Philip Dhingra on November 26, 2005 2:56 AM writes...
My mom, at the age of 9, used to shuttle herself and her little siblings on jipneys (what they call bus-taxis in the philippines) from the farm and back to downtown manila.
Scary? Yes. Character-building? Absolutely. My mom is a very strong woman now.
Let the kids roam the public spaces.
10. cc on December 1, 2005 4:09 PM writes...
13 year old kids should not be on myspace. kids are taking it to far they have no restrictions on myspace. kids talk sexy and young girls pose to be older then they really are. Iam against myspace and i think they should shut doen the page
11. Anonymous on December 6, 2005 8:03 AM writes...
approval? are you serious....what is the point of moderating mes....ugh, whatever buddy.
12. Anonymous on December 20, 2005 8:14 PM writes...
I am a father of 2 high school boys and a person responsible for technology in a school district. Our school just blocked myspace for several reasons. I don't believe patrons of the district are paying taxes to support that use of district resources. Secondly, many students are not (choose the word) mature, informed, wary, etc. to deal with some of the consequences that could occur as a result of improper use. And these consequences can be vary serious from the start. If even one child was hurt or abused by something that the school allowed access to, I would be upset. And as for the comments about parents and parenting, that is generally difficult. One, parenting is not the same as it was 15-20 years ago. There are good and bad parents, but from my experience some parents view the home computer as a baby sitter. It is placed in a secluded room, basement, office, bedroom where it cannot be observed. Additionally most parents don't have the knowledge to get involved or become informed as to what is happening in online communities, chat rooms, with web cameras, text messaging, etc. It is the parents fault, it is the students fault, and the fault can be spread around to whomever wants to point a finger at including the technology. I have access to my son's myspace and I check it. I ask questions, I look over his shoulder, and I watch his chats. But I also ask questions and take the time to learn about the technology instead of turning a blind eye to the situation. I ask him to explain it to me and to show me and tell me why he uses the technology in the ways he does.
13. Anonymous on December 20, 2005 11:45 PM writes...
when will you all stop trying to CONTROL your childrens lives and trust them, and let them grow up!
14. Morgan on January 5, 2006 2:50 PM writes...
I think these 'myspace is bad' articles are bull, no offence. But really! If any one took the time to notice it is sort of safe. Such as you CAN-CHOOSE weather to put your real age, and you can CHOOSE to put your real picture, key word-CHOOSE! Obviously if they put their real info, they know it's at risk, and they are posting it at their own risk. Besides, everyone I know only uses myspace to talk to their friends aka PEOPLE THEY KNOW. Also if someone sends you a friend request that you are uncomfortable with, you can block them, which means they can't view your profile or leave you any type of comment, ect. Also come on people, if some guy goes, "Oh baby you're hott where do you live? Oh god, meat me at the docks at elevn tonight." Uhm what are the chances ANY ONE would respond to that? I'm sure there are SOME people, but it's not very likely.
Besides the generations has changed so adults don't know as much about the interet as kids do. So, I think they should bud out.
You might not know it but we do know to good extent what we're doing.
15. Carrie on January 6, 2006 10:13 AM writes...
I think children should be allowed on myspace with the age of 15. Everyone shouldnt be penalized because some parents dont know how to raise their children and teach them what information to give out! I think thats ridiculous! Myspace, gives kids a chance to socialize with others and meet new people! For people to say that is wrong I think they are wrong!
16. kaydence on January 11, 2006 4:49 PM writes...
kay well first of all, this is blown way out of proportion, i am totally with morgan, this is ridiculas, we are not stupid, we are smarter than you might accuallythink, its ridiculas.
17. kaydence on January 11, 2006 4:50 PM writes...
18. Vern on January 19, 2006 9:38 PM writes...
This is directed at the kris's of this world. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LAW TO RAISE AND PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN! IT IS THE PARENTS! First of all, I am a parent. Two boys 16, and 12. I do not believe in protecting them from every little thing that can harm them. I try to teach them what is right, and what is wrong, what are the proper things to do, and what are the stupid things to do. When it comes to safety I explain the consequences of their actions, point out the dangers, then let them make an informed decision. It's like Jeff Foxworthy jokes about: Ow, I bet that hurt! Bet you won't do that again will ya? A perfect example is my own situation. My wife and I divorced several years ago, and she had the boys. She believes in watching them like a hawk, and always protecting them, and always making restrictions. Our oldest son started to have problems at school and home with violence, disrespect, poor grades, and a generally poor attitude. Yet when he was with me he almost never displayed this behavior. This continued for 5yr until he started to become to aggressive for her to manage, and he failed his gr9 yr. He came to live with me, and is treated as an adult instead of a child. His teachers commented on how his violent tendencies completely disappeared, his marks improved dramatically, and his demeanor became much more friendly and cheerful. He now takes responsibility for many facets of his own life. I did not cure this young man. He started to have control over his own life, and started to enjoy his life.
If we coddle, and protect our children from every perceived danger, when they face danger, they will not have the skills to avoid danger. That is why many kids are hurt in todays world. They have never been exposed to anything kind of danger, and dont recognize it.
19. Mark on January 22, 2006 11:59 AM writes...
The age restriction on MySpace is a joke. The younger ones just type "14" as their age. I have 11 and 12 year old kids and they're asking us right now if they can open an account. Several of their cousins who are also younger than 14 have accounts. I like the social aspects of MySpace and I appreciate the fact that, in a way, they can all monitor each other and we will probably receive reports when one of the group is doing something wrong, like making comments that are out of line or acting out sexually. I haven't heard this point made, yet -- that some of us might have GREATER access to our kids' lives on MySpace than we do without it. My wife has an account and she keeps track of stuff pretty closely. That's how she discovered all the cousins, because they're all friends with each other, and she just follows the chain from one to another.
My problem is, even if I agree with much of what has been said about the risk (statistically) being way overblown by the media, and the fact that we ought not take on the role as parents of constantly shutting down our kids, at the very least I wonder about sending the message that it's okay to lie and break the rules, even when we know that the rules are bogus or at least meaningless. This brings me back to the fact that MySpace knows full well that their rules are being broken or at least that they're not being very well enforced. I submit as evidence the fact that we reported one of our nephews to be underaged and told them why we knew that, but nothing was done. You can be sure that these executives are very bright and they have a strong desire to make money, and they aren't overly concerned with the welfare of our kids. Someone else pointed this out pretty astutely in a direct reply to the well-written essay that is linked to this discussion.
20. Katie on January 24, 2006 12:35 PM writes...
I am a girl who was on myspace underage..just to bug my cousin...then I found out that alot of my friends,and friend's siblings have myspace, and I agree that the age should be 18 and older because, the way these kids talk and the pictures and the lauguage that they use is very very very unacceptable..these girls, are putting these pictures on myspace and even a diary site named sitdiary,they are putting there life in MAJOR danger!Because people can very well copy those pictures into the pictures on there computer and put them on different sites.
If any of these kids parents knew what they were doing..these kids would be Grounded.....
21. Julie on February 3, 2006 9:38 PM writes...
I think it is really sad that we, as adults allow things like myspace to be in existance. I am sorry but I disagree with a lot of what has been said. If we live in a culture of fear we need to ask ourselves why. I agree that the media plays a big role in the hype and it is not because they care, it's about what sells. But please don't stick your head in the sand. Tell the parent of a child that was abducted, hey the chance of children being adbucted is one in 1000 or the parent of the child that was killed by a fellow student at Columbine, that it is not right to make kids go through medal dectors, or not wear coats that can hide weapons. It is easy for those of us who have not lived through such a tragedy to make this out to be fear based. And, yes, Danah, you did a great job writing this and others you have posted here, but you focused on what your beliefs are. Anyone can find information to make their point. There is a lot of unjutice in the world. I wish people would write papers on how to help these people instead of fueling the fire. If our young people today have issues with the way they are treated, you think that posting those feeling on myspace is going to help them? Hey let's just let all the mixed up kids get together and feed of each other, now that will really solve something. Kids who act out in such violence isn't your typical kid who are just mouthing words. They are kids who are seriously hurting. And need professional help.
As far as, the parent who wants to treat their children as adults, well that is great too, but every thing comes with a price. I would rather be somewhere in the middle. Yes, I want my children to make responsible decisions when I am not around, but I also don't want them to grow-up too fast either. That, in my humble opinion, is somewhat of what the problem is. Kids today are exposed to far too much to soon and their delevoping minds can only handle so much.
Myspace maybe a great venue for adults, but it is very dangerous for teenagers. None of us are in the minds of a criminal, in less you are one, so we really have no idea what they think like. But what a great way for them to get information about our kids.
22. Jessica on February 7, 2006 10:08 PM writes...
I'm Jessica, [hi!!]I'm 14, I HAVE MYSPACE.
You people are acting like me saying "I HAVE MYSPACE" is worse then me saying "i killed my mom". Its not a crime to have myspace, will you shut up about it already?
IF YOU ENTER YOUR AGE AS 14, YOUR MYSPACE IS AUTOMATICALLY SET TO PRIVATE, [for safety, duh]. but you shouldn't have to set your age to 14 and have your profile private if you don't want to. mine is set to 100 years old actually. i haven't posted my address, my phone number, or anything stupid like that.
if kids are, thats them...oh well.
they shouldnt be punished for it though, if their parents are that FUCKING stupid as to know, well, nothing about what websites and what their kids are posting on the internet THEY ARE THE ONES WHO DESERVE PUNISHMENT. for allowing this.
and dateline said they have seen profiles with people actually HAVING SEX ON IT. well, tom isn't that dumb, he'd delete it dumb asses.
myspace isn't murder.
get it straight.
ooh yeah, MY MOM KNOWS I HAVE MYSPACE.
23. Brittany Salter on February 15, 2006 5:15 PM writes...
I don't agree with anything about deleting myspace because myspace.com is a place for young teens to chat with their friends and send messages to each other. The people that are talking to strangers and giving away personal information should think about who it is they are talking to, I mean for all they know he/she could be 39 years old, looking at a picture of them and masturbating. These under age myspace users need to ACTUALLY THINK about what kind of stuff they are typing and sending. They need to take responsability for THEIR actions. The people planning on deleting myspace should just delete her account and not ruin it for other users online.
24. Brittany Salter on February 15, 2006 5:16 PM writes...
I don't agree with anything about deleting myspace because myspace.com is a place for young teens to chat with their friends and send messages to each other. The people that are talking to strangers and giving away personal information should think about who it is they are talking to, I mean for all they know he/she could be 39 years old, looking at a picture of them and masturbating. These under age myspace users need to ACTUALLY THINK about what kind of stuff they are typing and sending. They need to take responsability for THEIR actions. The people planning on deleting myspace should just delete his/her account and not ruin it for other users online.
25. Brittany on February 15, 2006 5:54 PM writes...
all this bull that is online and on TV is destroying children!!! I'm all for myspace, I mean if anyone says myspace is eviland your evil for going on it, I have the right to punch them in their face. I'm 14 and I think anyone who posts things saying myspace is bad influence for children, they probly don't have children of their own.Kids aren't as stupid as adults think that we are, just because 2 or 3 dumb ass kids were dumb enough to meet some one THEY DON'T KNOW doesn't mean all kids are as bull shitted as them.
adults are more stupid then us because they don't give us any privacy, and they just don't under stand us at all.
I can deal with asking "what are you on " but when they go on browse to look at EVERYTHING you've done THAT PISSES THE HELL OUTA ME!!!!!
parents who are reading this, give your children respect and let them learn from THEIR mistakes!!
myspace is just one way to talk to your friends if adults ruin that for us then they're ruining the chance to socialize.
just please stop talkin shit about myspace...
Anyone who is fucking stupid enough to reply to a stranger is a fucking asshole.
I mean think about it, if someone sent you a message sayin " your sexy meet me tonight" you could fucking block them!!!!
QUIT BEING NOSY PARENTS!!!!
LET YOUR CHILDREN LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES!!!!
please don't ignore me!!!
26. Your Mom on February 18, 2006 4:11 PM writes...
Interesting reading folks! Actually, most of you make valid points, but here's a couple of thoughts I'd like to add.
1. If your profile is not set to "private" your myspace is not private. (duh!) That means anyone can check it out, including your friends, your enemies, your mother, and the pervert down the street. You may have a "right" to your myspace, but you give up your "right" to privacy as soon as you post on a public site. This includes privacy from parents. You want private, set your profile to private or use a different medium.
2. As a rule, children do not have the same ability to discern, judge and act accordingly that adults have, hence legal age restrictions on driving, voting, drinking, movie attendance, etc. Granted, there are some very mature teenagers, and some very immature adults, but on the whole, an adult is better able to guage the wisdom of a particular course of action than a teenager.
3. Schools have every right to ban MySpace from their computers. School computers are for education, not for socialization. Get over it, and wait until you get home.
4. While of course parents are concerned about the worst possible consequences of using MySpace uncautiously (murder, rape, abduction), we are nonetheless disturbed by some less severe ones. I, for one, am disgusted at the idea of some 30-year-old jacking off to my daughter's photo. And just because you're too smart to "meet me at the loading dock," doesn't necessarily mean you've succeeded in keeping a determined stalker from finding you. For instance, he can probably find out what town you're in by checking out your friends - at least one of them probably names your town. And you've probably mentioned that you have cheering practice (or when your band is performing, or whatever). And chances are he knows what you look like (those cute pics aren't invisible because he's a stranger). Just because you don't agree to meet him (duh!) doesn't make you safe. Yes, I understand this is not likely to happen, but that won't be much consolation to either you or your parents if you are the unlucky one in a million.
5. And finally, while we're talking about how "smart" all you teenagers are, here are some examples of your brains. One 16-year-old posts pictures of himself and his friends all toasting the camera with their Budweisers. Another 14-year-old guy comments a 14-year-old girl about how "she didn't know what a blow job was" until she met him. This is really how you all want the world to see you?! Because the world is seeing you.
Just in case you're wondering, I am a parent. I have 2 teenagers, a 14-year-old boy who has a myspace and a 16-year-old girl who does not. They are both allowed to, but on the understanding that I will be randomly checking MySpace out. My daughter chooses not to because she doesn't want me snooping. So be it. That doesn't mean I don't see what her friends are up to. Remember - if you put it out there, it's for everyone to see. I recommend IM, e-mail and text messaging for anything you want to keep relatively private. They still aren't as private as you think, but they're less public than MySpace.
Thanks for your attention, and good luck out there.
27. whitney on February 21, 2006 2:56 PM writes...
zephoria i agree with you on your opinions about the whole myspace ordeal. i am a 16 year old who attends a high school that has blocked myspace and i find it offensive that they target a certain sites that are popular among teens when there are other sites such as dating sites for adults that can just as easily promote harm to people. i have enough common sense to know not to post my address or other person information online and this enrages me to think that the administration is targetting age groups like mine to belittle us and take away are freedom. i also believe that if a parent has any concerns about their child's life then they should ask them about it to try and take an understanding to what there child is doing not only online but in school and out of school, ask questions don't just ponder about things.
28. Josh on February 22, 2006 9:43 AM writes...
Okay, whitney. Let's get real here. You feel "offended" becuase the school blocks certain websites that the kids like? Are you retarded? Of course their going to block those sites, school isn't for socializing or games or whatever the hell else you like to do when you get online at school. So quit bitching, the school has every right not to let you on myspace.
29. Lindsey on February 22, 2006 1:59 PM writes...
What everyone is saying does make perfect sense. But I am 14 years old and i do have a myspace. Kids my age are not just giving out random personal information, if you looked at some of the kids our ages myspaces, you will see that many of them didn't put the correct age, and almost none of them put what city the live in or even the correct state, or country. Also most kids my age have their profile set to PRIVATE, where only their friends can read it. AND its the 18 year olds with the gross perverted pictures.
My sister is 18 and has a myspace, i will admit i do know her password and occasionaly check it just to see whats going on..her friends are the one that have any chance of getting stalked. AND why would a 14 year old or younger actually RESPOND to these emails or go on a date with these people..most of the storiees you hear about are from older people.
30. Whitney on February 23, 2006 4:20 PM writes...
Hi josh! First off, I'm not retarded for having an opinion because if I were you wouldn't be so capable of things yourself but I see to myself that you aren't so far from getting there or should I say their?? I find school to be a very social place especially when people communicate. I'm going to post my opinions about this issue on here just as other people have. So, how about you quit bitching over this place being a discussion website! Please!!Do it for the retarded people. Thanks Mr. in reality!!!,
31. hmmmm on April 9, 2006 12:41 AM writes...
Watch how defensive 14yr olds and under get when something is said about myspace. "Oh dear, I can't
lead on 35 yr old guys who look at my site, I can't look 21 and what ma I going to do, get a life maybe? Go out and actually DO something or LEARN something?
These are the same 14yr olds that click on anything linked to them in a messenger chat, or who get sucked in to Free Block Checker trash, and get infected with spyware.
32. laura on April 15, 2006 7:10 PM writes...
i have a myspace, (im 13) and my parents know about it, but still hate it. Has it occured to anyone that these people CHOOSE to put their life in danger? I have a private profile, i dont have my phone number, address, anything. Why should teenagers across the nation get punished b/cause some idiodic teens post porn and bad language, and theire address and stuff, adn get killed. If some kid in Nebraska puts out their address and a sexy picture, and has some freak come to their door ad murder them, why should I shutt down my account. I have had internet saftey tips enterd into my brain since i was 8. I know how to be safe. I know what I am doing.i shouldn't be punished for some idiot in Nebraska's mistake. It isn't my fault. Thus it isn't my problem.
33. laura on April 15, 2006 7:13 PM writes...
34. Nick on May 3, 2006 5:27 PM writes...
There is no doubt in my mind that kids put down way too much personal stuff. Kids have to realize this isn't as close to home as you think. The internet can be a fabulous tool but the fact of the matter is, people abuse it. There are bad people out there guys, so everyone, not just fourteen year olds need to be cautious. If there was a way to filter out ALL 13 and under that would be great. Unfortunately, we just can't do that. Anyone can be who they want to be. So I don't think setting a higher age limit does a thing. I mean, I've seen 11 year olds on myspace. So I agree that kids should be more cautious and maybe even make the age limit higher, I'm just not sure if it really will work.
35. JabbaDaddy on May 10, 2006 12:35 PM writes...
I have a 14 year old daughter who is on My Space. Much to her dismay, I monitor her site and use. I'm afraid I'm addicted to being a good parent and attempting to protect my child in a world gone crazy with too much too soon. I could prohibit her from joining, but would that do any real good? She might just be tempted to join and use a new ID that I don't know about.
Therein lies the problem. It should be absolutely mandatory that a credit card be used to sign up for My Space or any other Web Site and a charge levied that will show up on the CC statement. I really don't care if it is $1 and is refunded later. This would make sure that (1) Parents are aware that their children have signed up and are using the site. (2) Allow the establishment of age verification.
The minimum age preferably should be 18 or over, but I might see my way to perhaps 16 (with parents knowlege and permission)as a minimum.
If this site persists in being what it is and run as it is, if there continues to be abuse, molestation,preditors of younger more naive kids threats, x rated content and even connection to murder (Pennsylvania case recently). I am relatively sure there will be very vigorous action taken to impose restrictions.
The site should be responsible and institute the needed changes and usage parameters on their own.
In short, My Site needs to CLEAN UP IT'S ACT Now!
36. Jonathan on May 11, 2006 12:43 PM writes...
Everyone here is making good points and observations, but I see a very disturbing trend in this discussion.
It seems that while the adults are very responsive amongst themselves, the younger participants, despite their passionate pleas, are for the most part being ignored.
Isn't this the root of the problem? If we're going to have a conversation about censorship and child-rearing, isn't it absolutely essential for the youths to be involved as well?
Sure, the younger participants may be less articulate (and at times vulgar) when presenting their opinions, but that is exactly why we must pay closer attention. We must be responsive not only to "what they are saying" but also to the "motivations behind what they are saying". Why not paraphrase their responses, ask them if that is what they meant, and address their opinion accordingly? If we are wrong in our assumptions, then obviously some clarification is necessary. This can only help.
And to the younger participants. We need to hear from you, but posting vague opinions will make it harder for us to understand you. (Us adults can get lazy when it comes to figuring you guys out). If you say something should be a certain way, tell us why it should be that way. Tell a specific story of yourself or a friend that helps to support your point. Even if that story is made up (also read as "hypothetical"), it will still help us to understand your reasoning. Most of us are all willing to listen, and those who are not, are just part of the problem. ( I think I sounded like an English teacher just now.)
I can leave my personal opinion on this matter for another post. My sole message for now is this conversation will lead nowhere if it remains in its current disjoint state.
Thanks for listening, and be good to each other.
37. Renee on May 15, 2006 7:58 PM writes...
I think that everyone who posted here so far has just grouped every teenager into one group that stands for kids who dont think about consequences, do everything because their hormones tell them to and enjoy their parents poking into all of there personal business.Of course myspace can be dangerous!!! No one said it wouldnt be, but adults just dont trust their teens enough to realize that if you dont trust your kids on myspace it is like admiting that YOU didnt raise YOUR kids smart enough to stay away from people that they dont know or seem odd.I am a 13 year-old and my mom wont let me get a myspace because "she said so " I have about 100 reasons for her to let me get a myspace and she doesnt even have one.Now thats just sad.
38. Aaron on August 10, 2006 1:55 AM writes...
I have skimmed through the comments on this site. I just wanted to add my own two cents. I work at MySpace. I'm not going to divulge what my job is there. But I deal with hundreds upon hundreds of emails in regards to issues from the underage thing you touch on, to identity theft and such.
I think parents need to stop blaming MySpace for all the problems and start looking at the bigger picture. Alot of people don't seem to understand that if their child has access to a computer with internet access, then they are opening themselves up to possible danger. The same danger they can find on MySpace, they can find in any AOL chatroom or any Yahoo message board. What is also forgotten are the other social networking sites that allow children on.
Myspace has a department that deals with these issues and in order to keep it a free site, there is no credit card verification process. We do delete profiles who lie about their age when they are minors. We do keep the parents concerns in mind. But we also are aware that whether the society likes it or not, kids are going to get on the computer. Since we cannot stop them from doing so, we are doing our best to make our site as safe as possible. We have over 100,000,000 users and it is difficult to police every individual profile but if you compare us now as our content was a few years ago, we have made huge improvements.
I think it all starts from the home. Either you raise a child with common sense or you don't. I agree you learn from your mistakes. But as parents, you need to start realizing that your child will get on the internet. If not at home, at school...or a friend's house...or even at the fricking Apple Mac store. You need to instill these ideas in their minds about these dangers so they'll have an understanding of the goods and bads. There are tools to help with parental controls and whatnot to block MySpace but no one can be with any individual 24 hours a day to watch how they use a computer.
I think this comes down to the basic fundamentals. When I was a kid, my mother told me to look in both directions before crossing the street. We get emails now from parents who demand their child's profile be deleted. But they don't take the time to go into the other room and talk to them and spend time with them.
I believe the music on the radio, MTV, as well as the internet has really furthered this generations access and thinking. The fads are way different and the kids want to grow up quicker. I don't think there is anyway to stop it from happening. If MySpace gets shut down, another site will pop up it's place. There is already Friendster, Xanga, Facebook, etc. We need to communicate with the kids as opposed to blaming others for how they are behaving.
MySpace is a great place for networking. I use it to keep in touch with my friends, learn about ne bands, watch viral videos, etc. Nothing wrong with any of that. If kids are going to find online trouble, they'll find it whether it's on MySpace or on AOL. Communicate with them people.
39. molly on September 24, 2006 8:58 PM writes...
here's my oppinion-
myspace is a site where kids (such as myself) have fun. screw them if they give out personal info and ruin the ideas of a happy ending. its not myspaces fault, its theirs and their parents. if u play it safe and only add and talk to people u truley know and make it private, and dont give out any personal info, than ur ok. no one has even tried to make an attempt to try to meet me. most of the people on myspace are not pervs. WOW U DIDNT SEE THAT COMING NOW DID U??? what- u think that every kid on there is gonna get raped and killed dont u? well newsflash- kids that have had that happen on myspace.com are very few. but blogs? chat rooms? ye i can see how that is harmfull. but something as fun and creative as myspace- unless u are a compleate idiot- its fine.
40. molly on September 24, 2006 9:01 PM writes...
oh and kris- screw u
41. Kitty on October 17, 2006 12:51 PM writes...
To All Who Have Posted:
I agree with a lot of the parents about monitoring their children's websites on myspace. Granted, a parent should allow their children a certain amt of freedom to express themselves. Perhaps a monthly examination of the profile is ok, but obsessively monitoring a child's site is a little creepy.
To everyone who thinks that myspace is harming children/minors. The internet is capable of harming anyone who is not careful. AIM, MSN, and various other messenging services have been a predator's window into our children's bedrooms and minds for quite some time. Myspace just seems to be the site of choice for the moment because users are getting complacent and sloppy.
Every parent should tell their children the obvious: Do not post your location or mention your location to anyone online. You can easily fake your location. I have had a cyberstalker for quite some time, and in the beginning I would change my location frequently in order to throw them off.
Unless they have access to IP log information there is no way a predator can determine where you are logging on from. The only way they can do that is to look through the comments or something like that and THEN they can figure it out. The easiest thing to do is be careful about mentioning information that is too personal.
Anyway, some children need a reality check about myspace. Yes it is a place for friends, but don't get lazy. Parents shouldn't be paranoid about myspace, but having a healthy fear of internet predators is wise. They are very real.
Also, to any underage/minor person reading this comment: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVER ARRANGE A MEETING with anyone on myspace!! To the one girl who was spouting "duhs" all over the place, this is the mother of all duh's!I don't care if they look cute and cuddly, you never know if the 14 year old girl on there is really a 50 yr. monster out to make you his next victim.
So play it smart-- If you are saying things in comments or posting pictures that are inappropriate (read: sexually explicit language or semi-nude photos) then you are GIVING your parents something to worry about. Such actions make the site not about "chillin' with friends on the net" but about sex, and advertising yourselves in a way that would make any parent uncomfortable. Any parent who is NOT disturbed by inappropriate content outlined here is probably a fry short of a happy meal in the first place. Its common sense.
Don't get annoyed when your parents don't want you posing in lingerie or sprawled out on the bed-- ditto for the drinking/smoking pics. Its a parent's job to be watchful for that kind of thing and personally I think you are rather stupid to think that you SHOULD be able to get away with that kind of thing on a public space.
seriously ya'll are 13 or so, you have the rest of your lives to worry about attracting a mate and/or expressing yourself sexually-- be smart and keep it PG on your site! You attract the wrong kind of attention when you dress like a street-walker in your pics online!
Anyway, myspace doesn't harm people-- underaged, lazy, and naive pre-teens/teenagers harm themselves by setting up a place for predators to take advantage of them. I know that all pre-teens/teens think that they have a handle on things and that the rest of us are stupid/ignorant or just "don't get it".
Well let me say this: I have a myspace. Take a look. I am 22. Please believe me when I say that I "get it" and we are only looking out for those of you who can't see the forest for the trees.
That's all I have to say about THAT.
Be careful out there in cyberland everyone.
Its a jungle out there!
42. Zack Hunter on November 20, 2006 12:29 PM writes...
zacks the name.
thats all you need to know.
i hate myspace.
it makes enemys.
there are too many stupid people on here.
[yeh...] it was great @ first!
all you hear about myspace is negitive!
its basically just a breeding ground for preditors.
the only thing it has going is it's music.
its a waste of time.
there are way better ways to express your self and "communicate" with friends.
i mine as well delete my profile...
get off myspace,
or atleast be carefull!
myspace is stupid.
its nothing but a fad.
+soon to be forgotten about!+
43. Zack Hunter on November 20, 2006 12:30 PM writes...
44. chicken on December 1, 2006 11:36 AM writes...
you should be blaming the parents, not the kids for not teaching them how to protect themselves.
some kids are just so stupid and if they get stabbed and raped, then it's the parents fault for not protecting them.
think of myspace as sex, and drugs and alcohol.
tell your children that it's hazardous, and the consequences and stuff, but in the end, it's the children who make the decisions.
if they took the wrong path who are we to blame?
the kids? or the parenst who are "supposily" responsible for them.
45. Becky on December 1, 2006 7:11 PM writes...
I agree schools should block Myspace. If the students don't like it -- tough. School internet access is not meant for socializing.
Good luck trying to control the lives of your kids, though. They are 13, not 6. I like the point someone above me made, about Myspace potentially letting you know more about your kid's lives: how they talk, what they think, and who their friends are. If you're really that paranoid (oops, "concerned") make an account and don't let them know about it.
Overall, chances are the youth want to be treated with fairness and as individuals, not serfs. By overly prodding them, they will pull away -- lecturing and guarding them from life will not forge a bond. Face it, there are a lot of nasty people out there, and your kids will more than likely encounter someone you don't approve of. Unfortunately, "weirdos" aren't confined to the internet.
As for singling out Myspace, I think everyone needs to stop watching the infotainment that is Dateline and 20/20. Anyone ever heard of sweeps?
46. Sarah on December 27, 2006 12:24 PM writes...
I know alot of kids that are 11, 12, and some even 10 that have a myspace, xanga, runescape. You have to be 13 and older to sign up for thoose, but there is a very simple way out. Lying about your age has become VERY common.
Just look on the neopets message boards, about half the kids are under 13!!! It is very easy to lye about your age on the net,
47. cody on February 21, 2007 1:19 PM writes...
Ahh fuck you, myspace is a place for people to have fun and interact, just because some little douchbag gets raped dosent mean the sight needs to be tore down, so go fuck yourself you pricks.
48. cody on February 21, 2007 1:20 PM writes...
49. Erin on April 16, 2007 9:09 PM writes...
Alright, if you do not have kids it is very irratating to here your negative responses. Its different for people without kids, they just dont understand. And for those of you who have kids, you need to trust them, because if you've raised them responsibly they know what information they should not give out on the internet. I agree that children are not treated fairly, because just because they are young, doesnt meen they arentr responsible. Now let me just say.. I am only 12 years old and i think iv'e made a very reasonable argument. I am a kid, so i know what it feels like to be treated like a baby, and it sucks. And I know that there are alot of kids that give out too much personal information, but if their parents would just teach them what the concequences of their actions could be, they wouldnt be doing that. Well i hope you take the time to read my post.. because kids are people too >:|
50. Krista on April 16, 2007 11:49 PM writes...
My name is Krista and I am a sophmore in college. I actually stumbled onto this site, because I am doing a speech on myspace and the age limit/ precautions that it should have. I was originally only using this for informational reasons, but upon reading almost every comment for the last couple of hours I feel a sudden need to state my opinon on the subject.
I am not a parent and I am not a 14 year old, with that said I feel like I have a pretty good outlook on the subject given the fact that I am somewhere in between the two.
I think that while parents should talk with their children and practice good parenting that can not be all that should be done. To say that I think that their should be NO restrictions on Myspace would be a lie. Like I said, I am NOT a parent but I do have a 10 year old niece and anyone that has younger children in their life worries and protects them just like they were their own children. That bit of information is not debateable. Because of my 10 year old niece and younger relatives I worry about what they are doing and their safety EVERYDAY. However, I realize that not I/ nor their parents can sheild them from life. Whether it's Myspace, facebook, IMing, or even just a simple trip to the movies, risk is always something that parents, loved ones, and even just friends will have to worry about. ( This risk is available to ALL ages not just teens although they maybe possibly more prone to these risks.)
It is the parents job to monitor their kids as much as they can and it is the childs job to try and make smart choices. To expect the child to just "know" is ridiculous given the fact that adults,teens, and children ALL make mistakes everyday. It is also ridiculous to assume that a parent can monitor every aspect of a childs life. In my opinon, Myspace should take more precautions to keep underage kids (and more importantly) sex offenders OFF of Myspace. I wish that I knew some answer as to they can better do that, but I don't.
However, I'm sure they have many people working for them that are probably a lot more educated in that field and could probably come up with solutions. As for social networking at schools, I think it is irrelevant to the educational process. I think it should be the districts decision as to ban or not ban these sights. If the district gets enough "push" (for lack of better word) from the parents, then they should act accordingly. To ban Myspace is not getting rid of the problem of "sexual preditors" and such it is just getting rid of ONE of many many many (some not even invented yet) PLACES/WAYs it can occur.
If our solution to problems like this are "getting rid of them" then I think that we have bigger problems to worry about for the youth of America.
p.s I think that it is great that both teenagers and adults are commenting. However, (as someone previously stated) I think that it would be more efficent if the two discussed with each other.
Thank you for all of opinons they are all very helpful and I hope mine doesn't offend too many people.
51. mountain mom on May 8, 2007 9:50 AM writes...
Myspace serves its purpose, I have no problem with those who use it was intended but I'd like to suggest that users, regardless of age, remain as anonymous as possible. Those who use their first and last names... its easy to slip and reveal personal informaiton, don't allow yourself to become a target, use an alias or find a nickname!
I'm only here because I was looking for a former classmate... one of you has the same name but I could just as easily be a stalker and be looking for your personal information.
52. Anonymous on June 16, 2007 11:56 AM writes...
I am 15 and i dont like myspace. My sister is underage and she uses it. I dont know why some of you think the age limit will keep them from being on there. Everybody puts fake ages and myspace never checks into it. I know 5th graders who have a myspace and lot of other underage people. Changing the age limit will not help. Theyll just keep lying about their age. And I think there was someone who mentioned my space is aobut meeting new people, and then a paragraph later said that the kids who were talking to strangers were stupid. That is self contradictory. To meet new people is talking to strangers. Even you get them off your friends site. How do they know? Also there has been an issue about the site being banned at school. I dont know about your schools but the students at mine have a website they can go to that will get them to myspace without it being blocked. Kids are on it all day at school. I dont think myspace should be banned, but I think they need to keep a better eye on their users.
53. dom on August 21, 2007 4:59 AM writes...
i think it is so stupid to have an age limit for myspace because people end up lieing about there age.most people use myspace to talk to there friends so i think that there shouldnt be a age limit for myspace.
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