This is an article of interest we found on another site that deals with a very contraversial topic.
Get out of MySpace
by Connie Moustakis
I have recently been exposed to teenagers in a venue other than the classroom. I usually have their undivided attention due to the subject matter -- SEX (As an RN, I regularly go to schools to teach sex education classes). But I have been involved in some volunteer work and have noticed several teenagers distracted by the computer on a Web site called MySpace.com.
What exactly is MySpace.com? Well, take a look and browse 5 miles within your ZIP code and trust me, you'll get an eyeful.
MySpace.com was created by Tom Anderson in late 2003 as a place for aspiring musicians and bands to share their music and concert locations. Today, 32 million socially networked users, most of whom are under 22, are logging in at an average of twice a week, with a peer network consisting of an average of 68 "friends."
MySpace.com is the fourth most visited domain on the Internet, trailing only Yahoo!, MSN and eBay. The Web site has gotten even more attention recently due to the murder of 17-year-old Virginia college student Taylor Behl, who regularly blogged about her life at her MySpace.com personal Web site.
The first time I browsed on MySpace.com, I could only spend five minutes because I was so shocked by the content matter. But after the teenagers at the office were wasting time on MySpace instead of getting involved in volunteer/work-related activities, I became concerned and decided to revisit the subject.
First of all, teenagers are defensive of MySpace. The first thing they say to me is "I don't go to those sites."
So how do they know there are inappropriate sites to begin with?
Or, "I only talk to people that I know."
Then why did you just tell me you deleted 1,200 "friends?"
Just a minute, how many "friends" do you have, and who else is viewing your teenager's profile?
MySpace is a Web site that has pictures and profile of users. People can browse your Web site and sign blogs or leave messages, along with their picture.
I know it sounds innocent. But under closer inspection, I found groups that posted homosexual fetishes, anarchy, solicitations of sex and pornographic material unsuitable for teenagers.
My concern is that the pornography is easily accessible, and that is never a healthy situation. On the other hand, I found high school bands, church groups and other appropriate contacts.
There is an age limit, so the second question I ask teenagers is, "Did you lie to get a site?"
They say, "Yes, but my parents monitor it."
Now, when was it right to lie to get something, and how can you possibly monitor who is looking at your child's pictures?
The age limit is 14, but the content of the material suggests to me an "X" rating.
On MySpace, I saw two junior high students I had just taught, and both stated they were older, one said 19 and the other 20. One had his last name on his profile and the other named the middle school he went to in Rosedale.
Teenagers seem to be obsessed with MySpace because they can be something they are not, but so can weirdos, perverts and predators.
I recently took a letter away from a girl in class. She was reading the letter after the bell rang. After the bell it is fair game, so I took the letter. It was from a person on the East Coast that she had met on MySpace and he/she (whoever) had her address, and the content of the letter suggested that they were carrying on a long-distance relationship.
The red flags were waving, and my alarms were going off!
On this Web site, your kids might as well be sheep surrounded by a pack of wolves. Get out of MySpace -- it is not a safe place.
A follow up response to email that she recieved...
Whoa!!! Did I pushed a few buttons with the MySpace.com article or what?
I decided to do a follow-up letter concerning new information.
What I found interesting was the fact that kids can create multiple MySpace.com profiles. So when parents ask to see their MySpace.com site, teenagers show their parents a profile that is very appropriate. The other profiles they have are usually extremely inappropriate, but parents are unaware of this.
They can create multiple profiles with just an e-mail address. E-mail addresses are easily accessible, so they can create new accounts with different passwords. The e-mail accounts are free from sites like Hotmail.com. If you go to “Friend Finder” on MySpace.com and type in your child’s name, then all the profiles under that name will appear. That is assuming that they used their real name.
A friend of mine created her own MySpace profile and used an existing e-mail address and within minutes she received pornographic material. Not only do millions of people have access to your child’s profile, but they are also receiving pornographic material sent to an e-mail address that their parents don’t know about.
The kids are also blocking access to their site. You can read their blogs on their “friends” site, but you may not access their profile, as they have privatized their information. The blocked site reads: "Profile set to private. This user must add you as a friend to see his/her profile.”
I did visit Myspace.com again yesterday and saw half-naked junior high boys from the Northwest. What I failed to mention in the original article is that one-third of all internet solicitations are male/male. Myspace.com is really a playground for predators, predators who can enter your home and reach through your computer screen to access their victims.
I hope that pushes your buttons.