KC

The Many Dangers of Myspace

Author: 
Hayley9
 

The Many Dangers of MySpace

                       

       Are you a constant MySpace user? Do you find yourself spending hours on end searching through endless comments and bulletins? Most importantly, however, do you know all of your friends on MySpace? Several times a day, Olivia Walker, a California high school sophomore, logs on to MySpace in order to keep in touch with her friends. Walker, however, is only one of the over forty million users on this popular social networking website. Postings on users' profiles vary widely from pictures, diary entries, gossip, and sometimes even private things such as, home addresses and phone numbers. About a month ago, a twenty-one year old man was arrested in Connecticut for raping a 14-year-old girl he found on MySpace. Although you must be fourteen years old to have a MySpace, there are many users that are much younger and don't realize how dangerous it is to give out personal information to people they don't know. Unfortunately, most of them don't realize what a huge mistake they've made until it's too late.

The Images on MySpace:

 Most images that are posted on MySpace are sexually suggestive and may sometimes bring unwanted attention to the person who posted them. Or worse, it might bring exactly the attention they wanted. This website makes it too easy for any amount of sexual predators and pedophiles to post pictures that may or may not be of them in order to attract young boys and girls. They then gain their trust by listening to and "understanding" their problems. After getting close to them they suggest they meet and many times the teens agree to meet with a complete stranger and put their lives in terrible danger. MySpace requires a valid e-mail address in order to create an account, any other information like age; name and other information is easily faked. However, there are those who aren't exactly convinced that MySpace can actually be dangerous. "The benefits far outweigh the risks," says adolescent medicine specialist Jonathan Pletcher, M.D., of Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network.

                       

Inappropriate Friends on MySpace:

       For a "friend" on MySpace to be unsuitable for someone doesn't mean that they are sexual predators or criminals. Many users on MySpace tend to exaggerate and lie about many of the things they do, and therein lies the danger as younger teens are influenced by people they don't even know. There's also the fact that there are many users on MySpace looking to attract attention and they get it by posting threats or bragging about things like wanting to burn down the school. Is that really the kind of friend that you would like to interact with? Earlier on in the year, a fifteen-year-old was being questioned for a gunfire threat that was posted on his MySpace page, according to, http://www.wesh.com/news/15383311/detail.html. Some people don't know whether to take these kinds of threats seriously or not, but as they say better safe than sorry. The MySpace message sent said: "Someone is going to get shot at Dr. Phillips High School by somebody at Olympia High School on Thursday." However, nothing happened and the student is denying the fact that he did anything. Unfortunately, police can't ignore the cyber threats because they can't be sure if they are real or not.

The Written Content on MySpace:

           Many MySpace pages aren't censored, and it shows clearly. It isn't only all of those "four-letter words" that are spread out evenly throughout many profiles but there is also a lot of talk about drugs, drinking and sex. It's less dangerous for an experienced person to be reading through these sorts of things because they know what's right and what's wrong. However, the younger users on MySpace read what they see and sometimes can't really make sense of what they have read, so they do what they think is the right thing to do and end up becoming drug addicts or alcoholics. Some MySpace pages have very dark undertones and talk about committing suicide. That's not exactly setting a good example for the young users. What can be done?

What Can be Done:

       Parents and school officials are very concerned about the safety of children as well as teens. However, the way to keep them safe isn't by constantly looking over their shoulder every time they turn on the computer. Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of giving away private information over the Internet. Telling them not to "talk to strangers" isn't enough. They must be told what to do in case a stranger contacts them and they should be able to share if someone is making them feel uncomfortable in any way. MySpace may be fun but behind the so called glamour, lurks the danger.

JT