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MA Attorney General Seeks Myspace Changes

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hive-of-scum-and-villainy dept.

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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292 comments

Raise your own kids! (5, Insightful)

fragmentate (908035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266292)

I have two teenage daughters. Both of them have MySpace accounts. Neither of them is meeting mysterious men online.

Those girls are my responsibility. I can't expect them to make sound judgements on their own. I also cannot expect the administrators of a site to take responsibility for others' actions. Here we have another case of putting the blame on the drug and not the user. Here's a tip for you parents that think a government agency should step in:

  • Stop watching T.V., and get to know your kids, and what they're into.
  • Stop relying on other people to raise your children.
  • Don't assume that everything is "okay" when your kids say it is.
  • Know what your kids up to. Ask questions.
  • Monitor what they do, and make them aware of it.

MySpace is a harmless thing when exposed to smart people. It's the uneducated, unmonitored, and neglected that seem to be the victims. I know everything my girls do on MySpace, and they know it. You should know where your kids are going, and where they're at whether it's a physical location, or a cyber location. I'm not going to have freedoms sacrificed because a select few haven't a clue what their children are up to.

It's easy to blame MySpace because it's hard to raise a child.

Re:Raise your own kids! (0, Flamebait)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266334)

- Know what your kids up to. Ask questions.
- Monitor what they do, and make them aware of it.


I'm sorry but these two sentences tell me you don't actually have teenage kids, or you're a very gullible parent (in which case MySpace.com would actually help protect your kids).

Re:Raise your own kids! (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266414)

How the hell is this insightful? My parents may not have known everything I did when I was a teenager, but I knew there was a chance they might know about something I did. Kept me out of trouble for the most part. And believe it or not, teenagers are people too, even with all their hormones and angst. If you respect them, they quite often will respect you, and speak to you relatively civilly. If you're expecting to keep your kids under lock and key, then you're dreaming. But you can still get a very good idea about what they're doing where and with whom by just paying attention.
Perhaps you're the gullible one, believing that just because your kids hate you, you can't do anything about it.

Re:Raise your own kids! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266428)

I'm sorry but these two sentences tell me you don't actually have teenage kids, or you're a very gullible parent

Why's that, exactly? My kids are 4 and 6, so I don't have to worry about it yet, but I guarantee you I will know what they're up to, and they'll know what the rules are. In this case, they'll have a MySpace account IF and ONLY IF I have total access to view what they're writing.

And if they break the rules, they will suffer the consequences.

This ain't that hard. You just have to be willing to enforce rules and enforce punishments when rules are broken. Unfortunately, too many parents are intimidated by their kids these days, and too many kids see their friends manipulate their parents and get away with it, which makes them spoiled brats. Well, it ain't happening in my family.

Love and discipline in equal amounts, and the kids are kids, and the parents are parents.

Re:Raise your own kids! (2, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266527)

How, exactly do you think you're going to enforce that? Maybe you'll be able to do so in your own house (a big maybe, if you've got far too much free time on your hands), but you certainly won't be able to monitor what they do at school or friends houses.

Re:Raise your own kids! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266611)

How, exactly do you think you're going to enforce that?

You give them rules, and you check up from time to time. They know if they break the rules, then they get punished. Sure, being teenagers, they'll test the limits, but if you're consistent in enforcing the punishment, they'll learn not to push it.

They'll know if they violate my trust (like going to their friend's house to break the rules, rather than in my house), that's going to result in a big punishment.

Re:Raise your own kids! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266433)

I'm sorry but these two sentences tell me you don't actually have teenage kids, or you're a very gullible parent (in which case MySpace.com would actually help protect your kids).

I'm sorry, but this sentence tells me you have not actually tried fostering a respectful and fair relationship with your teenagers, or that you're an ignorant and incapable parent.

But, back on topic, no, you won't know everything. This is about protecting children from stupid things and dangerous people. Any parent who has a child posting on myspace and does not check their child's and their child's friend's sites is being irresponsible. We aren't talking about hunting down your 17 year old who is drinking at parties - we are talking about protecting your 14 year old from a 34 year old predator. We are talking about stopping your 15 year old from posting sexually enticing pictures of themselves on myspace.

Re:Raise your own kids! (2, Insightful)

crotherm (160925) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266469)


- Know what your kids up to. Ask questions.
- Monitor what they do, and make them aware of it.

I'm sorry but these two sentences tell me you don't actually have teenage kids, or you're a very gullible parent


If you think all teenagers are untrustworthy, then you might want to review your own parenting skills.

Re:Raise your own kids! (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266489)

I'm sorry, but that comment just proves you don't know shit about parenting. My parents never fucked with me, lied to me, or abused my trust and I never had any reason to hide things from them. You can, in fact, have good relations with teenage kids, you just have to start building that trust early.

Re:Raise your own kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266640)

Too many parents these days believe that respect should automatically be given to their child just because they are a parent and thats the way it is. Bullshit. Respect is earned not given, and any parent who thinks otherwise needs to wake up and realize that times are a changin. My point is that if you build good relationships with your children and earn their respect then they will have no problems telling you what they are doing and where they are going. On the otherhand if you as a parent acts a totalitarian dictator to your kids and not listen to what they have to say and give them the same respect you expect from them, then they won't listen to you and will miss any point you try to make.

Re:Raise your own kids! (4, Insightful)

Ritalin16 (867772) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266346)

I think the problem is most parents don't know anything about the internet or myspace, and think the internet is scary. The best thing for those parents to do is to learn about the internet and how to use it, that way they know what their kids are doing and understand how to keep their kids safe.

Re:Raise your own kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266354)

Neither of them is meeting mysterious men online.

... that you know of.

Cheers.

Raise your own argument. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266357)

"I'm not going to have freedoms sacrificed because a select few haven't a clue what their children are up to."

And exactly what constitutional freedom is being sacrificed here?

Re:Raise your own argument. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266466)

Not all freedoms are constitutional. That doesn't mean we shouldn't resent when we lose them for no reason.

Re:Raise your own argument. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266484)

And exactly what constitutional freedom is being sacrificed here?

The constitutional freedom that says "if it ain't in here, it's a freedom" aka, The Ninth Amendment.

I'm sick and tired of people who keep repeating the same old shit over and over "oOoOoOoOo it's not in the constitution, you don't have a right to it". Yes, I do. The right to privacy (except where the government is specifically permitted to violate that), the right to not have the government bully me around (except where the government is specifically permitted to do so), and so on. I have those rights, it says so right there.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Re:Raise your own kids! (3, Insightful)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266395)

I agree with above poster. I'm no expert on parenting but I've seen enough from day to day to tell you that most of the time if a kid is meeting some creepy adult over the internet, or imitating a violent video game, etc it is not the (insert form of communication/entertainment here)'s fault. It's the parents' fault.

How a local cop got in to show.... (5, Insightful)

dietrollemdefender (970664) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266411)

some girls and their parents how dangerous it can be.

A local cop in Middletown, CT posed as a 17 year old. He just struck up a conversation with one girl. He then ask to be her "friend" (a MySpace term to be added to a buddy list). After the first addition, he just kept sending emails to the initial contact's friends asking to be put on their buddy list. The cop also pointed out that there was enough information on the web sites to actually find these girls. When they finally met him, they were shocked to find out that he was this pounchy thirty something.

Anyway, a lot of it is social engineering. Once you get into a circle, you're have access to a ton of stuff. It also happens to adults. ONe of the best ways to start a con game is to go to church! A con artist will get involved with the minister or someone else at the church and then others think that this guys is "alright". The con artist just starts reeling'em in! No tech required!

BTW: I saw this on TV and I don't remeber the show.

Re:Raise your own kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266413)

What are their myspace IDs?

Re:Raise your own kids! (4, Informative)

NtroP (649992) | more than 7 years ago | (#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!

Re:Raise your own kids! (2, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266525)

I'm curious about something from the perspective of a parent that has always puzzled me.

if your kid has 15 year old male friends, they probably want to sleep with her.

If your kid has 17 year old male friends, they probably want to sleep with her.

If your kid has 50 year old male friends, they probably want to sleep with her.

What makes the behavior of the 50 year old worse, or even different, from the behavior of the younger friends?

D

Re:Raise your own kids! (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266638)

50 year old men are icky.

Re:Raise your own kids! (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266671)

... which means they will fail in their efforts to seduce the 17-year old, and so they are actually less dangerous than the teen's friends close to her age!

D

Re:Raise your own kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266478)

Pardon me, sir? May I have your daughters MySpace profile names?

Thanks!

Re:Raise your own kids! (2, Interesting)

sofla (969715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266600)

How did this get rated "insightful"? It is the most obvious counter-argument to make, a trained monkey could do it. And its a Red Herring.

Its easy to blame the people blaming MySpace, because its hard to think about a real solution to the problem. Hint: like most things in life, its somewhere in the middle.

You could use this same silly counter-argument to get bar owners to stop checking ID. After all, any "responsible" parent would "always" know what their children are up to, wouldn't they? This isn't about putting the blame on the drug (alcohol, myspace) instead of the user. Some parents, including myself, feel that it is important to give children an opportunity to grow up and make their own decisions, rather than controlling every single aspect of their lives. Guess what? This means that at some point I won't know everything they are doing, I will just have to hope that I taught them well and trust them to make good decisions on their own. Sure they'll make mistakes. This isn't about asking society to raise my kids, its about asking for reasonable precautions to help protect children against criminals.

You'd think MySpace would have learned something from the problems AOL faced a few years back. Or maybe find a lawyer that could spell COPPA.

Re:Raise your own kids! (1)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266601)

Your points are good.. But what about that 13 year old? Is it her fault that her parents did not raise her well? Yeah it may be the parents fault, but the 13 year old shouldn't have to suffer. In your family, things work out. But if you neglected your daughters, wouldn't it be nice to know that uncle sam is trying to keep them safe still.

Whatever (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266301)

The biggest proposal is to change the minimum age from 14 to 18 with an age verification system,

Oooh, that's scary. I bet kids will have a really hard moral dilemma lying to the "are you under 18? [YES] [NO]" page.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266335)

Not to mention browsing through the site and oogling at people you THINK are 18. I could be a Dirty-Old-Man(TM) and not even know it!

Re:Whatever (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266422)

They probably mean some kind of more serious age verification, likely relying on a credit card or something similar.

Re:Whatever (3, Insightful)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266487)

Which then will kill the site. Anytime you have to provide a credit card, I never go any further, nor am I alone on this.

Re:Whatever (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266529)

Ah, so just outright bankrupt them? I like the way you think, citizen 4678707! Keep it up and there might be an extra choclate ration in it for you.

Re:Whatever (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266533)

I am sure it will be a little more secure than 99% of the porn sites out there with the Yes or No buttons. It will also cripple Myspace.com. My wife has a myspace account she talks to her friends on. I've read it before, and its a bunch of girl crap. But if she has to put in a credit card number, SSN, drivers license number I can honestly say it will be the end of her Myspace account. No one needs that info to run a blog. There are plenty of other blogs out there she can use that won't require that info.

Re:Whatever (4, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266537)

What's funny is that right now, adults on MySpace lie about their age pretending to be minors. And not just the predatory ones.

Why?

Only minors are allowed to make their profile information or posts private.

So people who've decided they want to keep the MySpace social scene going but don't want prospective employers, or ex-girlfriends, or nosy relatives to see it just change their birthday, and they get the option to mark things as private.

Stupid restriction --> Predictable results.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266538)

This 13 year old obviously had no problem pretending she was 14. A lot of parents will just allow their kids to circumvent any age verification, even if it means credit cards. I used to wait tables and it was amazing how many kids came in with mommy & daddy's credit card...

Re:Whatever (3, Insightful)

Brobock (226116) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266649)

The biggest proposal is to change the minimum age from 14 to 18 with an age verification system,

Oooh, that's scary. I bet kids will have a really hard moral dilemma lying to the "are you under 18? [YES] [NO]" page.


Not only will they lie and say they are 18 to enter the site, but they will look legal to people browsing the site.

Re:Whatever (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266686)

Have you tried browsing profiles with the age selection set to 90-100? I haven't found any seniors there, yet. And this is with the current restrictions.

This will be easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266312)

Just make the maximum age 26 :0]

won't they ever learn? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266332)

You can close down a site, and another will take its place.

Anyway I wonder, how many "children" out of those "millions" are actually attacked, and how many children are kidnapped every day from "real life" playgrounds, schools, houses. Even abused by their own babysitters.

But hey, it's easy to attack a single place and say "we managed to save millions of children of potential abuse by sexual predators by forcing an internet site to require age verification ..."

Yeah, right.

If you're wondering... (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266336)

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...

Re:If you're wondering... (3)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266459)

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...


So, in other words, wag that little doggie [imdb.com]? :)

Hey Parents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266339)

Dear parents:

Why don't you try PARENTING for once instead of expecting the government to do it for you? Your pre-teen and teenaged kids are young and naive. You wouldn't let them roam the streets of Detroit in the middle of the night on their own, so why should this be any different?

And no, petitioning the government or some third party organization to do your parenting for you does not make up for the fact that you are an awful parent. Take some responsibility or put your kids up for adoption if you can't handle it.

Sincerely,
Everyone else

I can't stand MySpace... but... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266341)

This is not their responsibility to make sure predatory activity is prevented.

Is it ANY places' responsilbility (online or in the physical world) to do that?

I'm sure these institutions would like to find ways to reduce that, but there is no way they can take into account every situation that would put a child in danger. When does MySpace's accountability end and an individual's accountability begins?

Horrendous web design (3, Funny)

APE992 (676540) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266343)

How about forbidding the horrible web design most of MySpace features? It wasn't cool in 1996 and it isn't cool now. USE DREAMWEAVER AT THE VERY LEAST FOR GODS SAKE!

Re:Horrendous web design (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Gov't Knows Best! (1)

Mobster (306973) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266344)

Geesh.. it's not an Ozzie and Harriet world. I watch my kid does online. This is not going to stop online predetors. Kids will find a way around age verification. What will the gov't do then? Outlaw websites? Come on!

Retarded (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266347)

The ONLY reason this is making the news is because MySpace is so high profile. What about all the other web forums that teenage girls visit? Maybe those should have to follow the same policies.

And the other big question is...does this jackass plan on paying for all those additional employees?

As much as I hate huge evil corporations, what I hate more are politicians who mandate this huge crock of shit and then just make the companies cough up the dough to pay for it...which inevitably ends up costing the end users in some form or another.

Re:Retarded (4, Funny)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266615)

What about all the other web forums that teenage girls visit?

Just for, uhm, posterity, what web forums might these be?

Re:Retarded (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266653)

It's actually quite obvious that this MA legislator is simply doing this for vote-whoring, nothing more. He really doesn't care if this gets passed or not, or if this thing gets passed but eventually thrown out of court. He's just in this so that he can use the current buzzwords of the day: "MySpace", "pedophilia", "child safety",... these things seem to sell newspapers, and get parents really excited,... enough that they're willing to vote for this guy for, "doing the right thing," and, "making a valiant attempt," at solving these problems.

Meaningless (1)

shadow-9 (755814) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266352)

Okay, so they get one site, MySpace.com, to make people say they are 18+. Maybe it might work a little. But, people, we are talking about the INTERNET. There are potentially billions of places like this where predators can hunt young children. No one can stop up all the leaks. The only way to curtail this is for the parents to take more responsibility.

Parents (2, Insightful)

tute666 (688551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266353)

It's much easier to legislate, rather than tell parents there not doing their job right.
Quite sad if you think about it.

IANA...Parent...but! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266485)

"Quite sad if you think about it."

No sadder than the childless presuming they know what parenting's all about.

Re:IANA...Parent...but! (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266661)

> No sadder than the childless presuming they know what parenting's all about.

No sadder than an Anonymous Coward presuming that we should give a damn about its opinion.

Yet another example of..... (5, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266355)

....anyone but parents being the responsible party. I'm not saying that they have total control over their kid's actions, but legislation like this implies that "some kids are just beyond good upbringing and good parenting". You see this garbage in schools all the time, and it's sickening.
PARENTS - Other people are not responsible for your children. That's why they're your children. Spend time teaching them -why- this sort of thing is bad. If you don't trust them, limit their internet usage. Keep tabs on where they are and what they're doing. IF you don't like the commitment and responsiblity that comes along with it, don't have children.

Won't somebody please think of the children?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266361)

oh wait..

OR.... (2, Insightful)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266373)

the state of Mass et. al. could do THEIR job and catch these pervs instead of off-loading the responsibility onto a company who's area of expertise is not law enforcement.

When we start expecting private citizens/companies to be our law enforcement (e.g.RIAA,etc.) is when things tend to get COMPLETELY OUT OF HAND!

There goes MySpace... (4, Funny)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266376)

the fast-growing Internet site that boasts about 60 million members

change the minimum age from 14 to 18

Er, make that 30 million members. If they raise the age to 21, they're screwed.

Hilarious oversights abound (5, Insightful)

jettoki (894493) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266380)

So, if everyone is 'officially' 18 on MySpace, sexual predators will just have a claim against accusations of pedophilia when girls lie about their age to get an account. "I didn't know she was underaged! Her profile says 18!"

Great idea, guys.

Re:Hilarious oversights abound (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266592)

Clever, but the courts don't like hearing that. See, there's 2 parts of every crime:

mens rea = intent
actus reus = action

When a college kid gets caught hooking up with a highschool girl who snuck into his fraternity party, he gets charged for the action of statutory rape -- regardless of what he thought at the time.

When old men show up at the house of a "teenager" for sex when it was really a cop on the other computer, they're charged with the intent to commit statutory rape.

The system is supposed to function so that BOTH parts need to be commited for you to be guilty of a crime. But as you can see, it doesn't work that way.

Re:Hilarious oversights abound (1)

jettoki (894493) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266689)

Yeah, but either way, this isn't the solution. Just a bad idea in theory and in practice.

what about false ages? (2, Interesting)

zboy (685758) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266385)

That isn't going to stop girls from getting accounts. The way myspace is right now, nobody (excpet the people you add to your friends list) can see your profile unless you are over the age of 15. So what to the under 15 year olds do? they say they're 18, or 20, or whatever so that everyone can see their profile. (on the other side, my 23 year old friend said she was 15 just so that her profile woudl be private..)

Re:what about false ages? (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266410)

I'm going to echo that.

I personally know (irl)
-- an 11 year old girl (daughter of ex-coworker) whose MySpace profile says she's 17
-- a 30 year old woman whose MySpace profile says she's 14.

The former to explore the world, the latter not to be explored by the world.

That's all I'll say about that.

Really forward thinking! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266536)

...my 23 year old friend said she was 15 just so that her profile woudl be private... until next year, when MySpace will then think she is OVER 15?!? What is she planning on doing, creating a new profile every year? Here's a better idea: allow ANY user to click a checkbox in their profile to make it private, rather than relying on an arbitrary age limit just to do the bare minimum to satisfy privacy laws.

Re:Really forward thinking! (1)

zboy (685758) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266622)

you can change your age anytime you want. she had her real age up for a couple years before she changed the year to make her profile say she was 15...so she could change it again next year if she wanted to

Why (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266397)

Why should MySpace care to protect children from "sexual predators", let the government do it, isn't this why the whole Internet in USA will be reorganised to allow snooping.

What is so good about myspace. (2, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266403)

Seriously what is so good about myspace? When did it become so popular... What does it offer over Livejournal?

Also does anyone see a problem with "whatever the kids like" being an automatic scapegoat for pollies looking for a bit of attention.

I suppose it isn't all bad, it might replace the "video games are evvilllll" argument. Like when video games replaced d&d, or when d&d replaced rock music or when rock music replaced jazz music...

I've got one word for this attorney general (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266405)

Geocities....

Or how about two, Tripod...

Three? FortuneCity...

How does a man like this get elected Attorney General?

How old are they? I know Geocities is old...

Even better: How to block MySpace (1)

Ponga (934481) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266406)

After doing some research, I found out that MySpace lives in a single Class C IP block, (This may change over time, but as of now this info is accurate.) Simply add this to your firewall rules to block and your set! MySpace IP Block: ------------------ 63.208.226.0/24 - -Ponga

Re:Even better: How to block MySpace (2, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266512)

After doing some research, I found out that MySpace lives in a single Class C IP block, (This may change over time, but as of now this info is accurate.) Simply add this to your firewall rules to block and your set! MySpace IP Block: ------------------ 63.208.226.0/24 - -Ponga


Even better: teach them not to leave personally identifying information lying around in public view. That's a lot better than trying to play catch-up and block each new social site in turn.

Oh, and it's "you're set," not "your set."

Re:Even better: How to block MySpace (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266608)

Does pressing F5 to bypass autoexec.bat and config.sys still work? That's how I got around all my dad's attempts to lock down the family computer.

In all seriousness, the kids that this article is about are likely vastly more capable of (de)programming a firewall then their parents. Hence the need for the latter to seek a legal solution to their problems instead of a technological one.

I have an alternate plan. (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266408)

Let's make parents responsible for what their kids do and see online, and see how that works.
In fact, let's have ISPs make subscribers sign hold-harmless clauses, promoting this idea.
OMG, don't tell me... that would intrude on the rights of parents, or something, wouldn't it?

MySpace may present an attractive nuisance, but it's not because kids can sneak past the age verification. (If so, merely raising it won't do a thing, anyway) It's because kids have not been taught to not to leave personally identifying information lying around. MySpace just makes it easier to do, the latest in a line stretching back through the blog hosts to personal website hosts like Geocities, et al.

Now, do we teach the kids, or do we restrict businesses further, because we can't be bothered? Hint: the internet routes around damage, and we can't legislate in the US against what companies in other countries do on their servers in those countries.

Re:I have an alternate plan. (1)

Mr Sausage (940301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266656)

I agree with that. Unfortunately in a lot of cases it will be the blind leading the blind. These are the same people who have things like credit card information on the computers. How many of us have that call from a family member panicking because the think they have had everything stolen from their "drive thingy". Education is the key here. Not just for the kids; but for the parents as well.

13 14 18 (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266429)

How is raising the minimum age from 14 to 18 going to prevent a 13 year old from lying?

Re:13 14 18 (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266634)

Heck, they might decide it's not really worth the trouble and just find some older kids to drink and smoke weed with. Like the other 154% of teenagers.

Re:13 14 18 (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266655)

Just try browsing MySpace profiles with the setting for ages 90-100. See who you really find. A few even admit their age (some under 13). In many cases, pictures don't lie. I haven't found any seniors there, yet.

Haircuts (2, Funny)

BoxSocial (945632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266447)

Couldn't he have insisted those losers get more sensible haircuts instead? Honestly I can't sleep at night because of that site.

Right... (2, Informative)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266456)

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.

Re:Right... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266488)

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?
Probably; that's usually what's implied by "Age Verification".

This arrest shows that people are paying attention (4, Insightful)

cabraverde (648652) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266465)

"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... "

Well it also underlines that the police, FBI and MySpace admins are doing their jobs and keeping their eyes on the ball. This kind of predation is a risk in any kind of communal space, online or not. The answer is to be careful, and let your friends know where you're going & who you talk to.

The answer is NOT to outlaw communal spaces, or ban younger people. The idea that under 18s should be banned from public parks would immediately be seen for the stupid overprotective reactionism that it is. But because this is about "the internet"... ooh, scary! Suddenly no amount of legislation is enough.

Re:This arrest shows that people are paying attent (2, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266651)

The idea that under 18s should be banned from public parks would immediately be seen for the stupid overprotective reactionism that it is.

Um, really? What shining ray of hope do you live in that still thinks so? My local park closes at 8pm year-round. Kids (who else uses a park?) can and have been charged with tresspassing. Granted, it's usually in addition to other charges involving drugs, alcohol, or vandalism.

What exactly has changed? (2, Insightful)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266517)

I had a geocities webpage when I was 12 and I was never gang raped by strangers. What exactly has changed in the last nine years?

Redundant (2, Insightful)

cyngus (753668) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266531)

This post is redundant, because even though I haven't read the discussion thread I'm sure over 50% say this as well. Raise your own f*cking kids, and don't blame others because you were too lazy to get off the couch and see what they were up to. It still really shocks me that in order to drive a car, I need the government to give me a slip of paper, an insurance company to give me another one, and both of these have to be renewed on a regular basis, but I"m completely unrestricted in my ability to screw and make children. Poorly raised children are a far bigger danger to society than an unlicensed, drunk, speed freak driving down the expressway.

Targeting the target market (2, Insightful)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266554)

change the minimum age from 14 to 18 with an age verification system

Tom, wouldn't it be easier just to put them out of business?

Wait no, I have a better idea! (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266573)

Why doesn't the government just require MySpace to have a splash page, that, instead of the

"Are You 18? [Yes] [No]"

bit, let's have them put a

"Are You a Sexual Predator looking for some 14 year old action? [Yes] [No]"

Then, if they click yes, we direct them here [michaeljackson.com] for tips and tricks!

Parents should be punished (1)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266596)

Why should I or any adult have what I do or watch censored because parents aren't monitoring their children's internet activity or what they watch on tv, etc.. Society is not responsibility for babysitting. If a parent does not assert authority, that parent should be punished for neglect.

OMG Parent More!!! (4, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266616)

What I find funny about these stories and the obligatory "parents need to not suck!" argument is that it assumes that all parents have the same technical ability that we do. Or even the same language ability that we do. Or the TIME that we do. This seems to be the mother of all projections, as far as this site goes- "I could do it this way, it should be done this way, therefore EVERYONE should be fine doing it this way, and if they don't, it's their fault."

Lots of parents work two jobs. Lots of parents don't understand computers. Lots of parents simply don't know enough about their teenager's life to check for some things (to those that do, or think your parents did, I'm sorry. You're lying. Everyone keeps things from everyone else, regardless of their relationship).

And even so, how is this a raising thing? Kids are having sex, and parents can't stop them from that. How does it make any difference when it's some guy they met at school, planning over AIM and some guy on myspace who happens to be a sexual predator? Again, you don't know everything your child is up to (nor should you), and you never will.

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? Because it'll curb kids' ability to use a website to share things? While I think the child's ability to express himself online is important, I think making our best effort to ensure that kid isn't going to be assaulted by a predator is pretty darn important too.

The "parent more" argument is a useful tool for people with agendas, but it has no logical stopping point. Why should the state have battery laws? Shouldn't parents teach their kids how to avoid fights? How about laws against gang activity? Shouldn't parents tell their kids to avoid gangs and vandalism? By this logic, simply "raising" your kid would solve the problem, but obviously it doesn't.

s/online predators/online scavengers/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15266645)

...is not doing enough to protect children from sexual predators...

A girl 13 year old girl that is arranging to meet random strangers on the internet for sex is already very messed up. That's not to say that actually having sex with random strangers wouldn't mess her up even more but the men who are looking to meet such girls are more scavengers than predators (assuming there is no coercion involved).

These men are less like the lions that make the initial kill and more like the vultures that pick at whatever is left.

This doesn't go far enough (5, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266669)

I propose covering all objects with Nerf and sealing all children with bubblewrap until their 18th birthday. Anything less may result in a dangerous owie or booboo.

Only in this way can we ensure the next generation is fully ready for the challenges of adulthood.

So this time it's "the children" (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15266691)

Why, couldn't find any terrorists using MySpace?

Quite seriously. If you can't take care of your kids, then you're unfit as a parent and CPS should step it. Case closed. It is NOT the responsibility of the country to raise anyone's children, except those children that don't have parents! It is not the governments responsibility to keep them out of trouble.

It is YOURS, if you're a parent! Not mine. Not the country's. YOURS.

Then again, why do I bother to ramble? It's just the usual excuse to cut into civil liberties with a petty excuse that nobody dares to stand up against.

Ok. I do. To hell with children. I want freedom!
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