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MySpace.com:  Where Children Play & Child Sexual Predators Lurk

 

 

The popular social networking web site MySpace.com has nearly 70 million members, the majority teens and children.  Where young people play on the internet, just as on playgrounds and school yards, child sexual predators lurk. The appearance of a predator in places where youth hang out is a concern but many kids "know one when they see one" and have at least a chance to avoid the danger.  The presence of adults and perhaps the police helps to limit the activity of child stalkers.  Cyberstalkers, on the other hand, are in fact more prevalent, numerous, and dangerous since the community sites on the web give them a sense of anonymity with the use of screen names and various opportunities to deceive and seduce with fake photos, ages, and backgrounds.  Chat room predators are in a position to use deception to lure children to meet, often with dangerous or fatal results.

TV news programs, such as NBC's Dateline "To Catch a Predator,"  and a number of news articles have pointed out the dangers of chat or social networking web sites.  In the article "MySpace faces call to crackdown on predators," (Tuesday May 02, 2006 10:40PM PDT) the writer points out that "Massachusetts calls on the social networking Web site to strengthen protection of children against sexual predators. The arrest on 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.  Connecticut authorities said in March that two men--one age 22 and the other 39--were arrested on allegations they had sexual contact with minors they met through MySpace.  In February, California police arrested a 26-year-old for felony child molestation after he met a 14-year-old on MySpace."  Efforts to lessen the potential dangerous impact, such as blocking some sites at schools, prove futile with today's tech savvy kids who simply use their cell phones to access the web, as pointed out in the article, "Blocked MySpace on campus? How about cell phones?"

Parents and young users of social networking, blogging, or chat sites such as MySpace need to be aware of the problems and take precautions because this particular site continues to grow.  As pointed out in "MySpace growth continues amid criticism," 
the "popular site is signing up new members at record pace, but remains (the) target of concerns regarding safety of younger users. MySpace, which has accumulated 67 million members since its launch in 2004, is currently growing by an average of 250,000 new members daily.  With that growth MySpace has come under increasing scrutiny. . . . two men were arrested in separate incidences for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with minors, whom they met through MySpace. One of the minors was 14 years old and the other was 11."  Further information is found in Cops walk the beat on MySpace and also World Observer/Children.  Additional articles include:  "Murdoch-owned MySpace endangers kids--website linked to assaults of teenage members"--Read article and Teens' MySpace Web Site a Boon for 'Predators' Times Argus, J.C. Myers, 2.13.2006

In addition to potential threats from child predators stalking MySpace for potential victims, the popular online community presents the problem of exposing young children to obscenity and pornography as pointed out in the following news item:

Kids Accessing Porn Stars' Web pages on MySpace  Read article

TEEN HAVEN MYSPACE A PLATFORM FOR PORN STAR PROMOTION

"The biggest porn stars in the world are using NewsCorp's MySpace.com to promote themselves, often to kids.  Much like enterprising bands that used MySpace to market themselves, dozens of the biggest XXX starlets are now using the site for the same reason. These include Jenna Jameson, Tera Patrick and Nikki Benz. Even porn industry trade publication Adult Video News has a page. Many, like Patrick's, have links to the stars' official sites offering explicit imagery, videos and sex toys. All are wildly popular with the kids who are MySpace's mainstay.  For example, the average MySpace user has 68 friends. Jameson has 406,571. Patrick has 56,688.  One 18-year-old high school girl from Kentucky who calls herself "Pornstar" writes on Jameson's page:

'...you have no f***g clue how much i want to be a pornstar when i graduate.. ive only got 4 more days!! then i begin trying to start my career as a pornstar.'

One quarter of the site's 75 million users are ages 13-17. Obviously parents, already concerned about the site's alleged pedophiles, won't be happy with this newest twist."

Porn, Pedophiles, Our Kids and MySpace
Townhall, Rebecca Hagelin, 5.30.2006

A ‘Smorgasbord’ for Pedophiles: The Allure of MySpace
Breakpoint, Mark Earley, 5.30.2006


Resources:

Shielding Kids from Online Sex Predators
Mercury News, Edwin Garcia, 3.28.2006

What can be done to stop predators?

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families

Perverted-Justice Online Predator Watchdog

Child Seek Network

"To Catch a Predator"--NBC Dateline and MSNBC Commended by World Observer for Public Service to the Common Good

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

 

 

National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families

Focus on the Family's Focus on Your Child Enjoy the Journey

Internet Security 125x125

 

  

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