Saturday, January 28, 2006

MySpace: toilet of the blogosphere?

MySpace is what I suspected it was: a sex predator's paradise.

Why? Because ignorant or negligent parents have not warned their children about NOT revealing home addresses, phone numbers, etc. on their blogs.

I have started a deconstructive MySpace blog SoMeEx (social media experiment), but it's starting to evolve into more a vice squad detective investigation.

Rampant immorality, underage drinking, drug use, sexual images, and massive disclosure of sensitive private information are abundant in MySpace.

MySpace is fast shaping up as the toilet of the blogosphere, a happy hunting ground for perpetrators, and a Clear and Present Danger for teenagers.

I went to birthday party in a hick farm town today. My wife's rural relatives were there. I took lots of photos, which will appear here soon. I asked the teenagers present, like I always do, if they had blogs. Nope. But they said they did visit the MySpace "blogs" of their friends.

"People can change your blog, that sucks," a teen boy nephew-in-law informed me.

"Nobody can change your blog, unless you give them the password," a female teen clarified.

When I mentioned the Erotic Ads in MySpace, even attached to my SoMeEx blog, parents looked concerned. I told them it seems to be a soft porn hook-up site, where teenagers try to meet people for sexual adventures, called "romance".

This is what I'm starting to discover. I think I'm quickly turning into a MySpace hater.

Now this from the MSM blog "Mank Blog" of MSNBC, which has been exposing the unseemly side of the pseudo-blogosphere called MySpace. Perhaps a better title for this might be "PredatorSpace".

"Why parents must mind MySpace"

by Rob Stafford
NBC News
January 27, 2006


Margaret Sullivan: "I found all kinds of pictures of kids in revealing positions, and pictures of kids scantily dressed."

It’s a cyber secret teenagers keep from tech-challenged parents who are not as savvy as Margaret. It’s a world where the kids next door can play any role they want. They may not realize everyone with Internet access, including sexual predators, may see the pictures and personal information they post.

When “Dateline” surfed MySpace, we found scenes of binge drinking, apparent drug use, teens posing in underwear, and other members simulating sex, and in some cases even having it.

We also found less provocative pages like Shannon’s was, but potentially even more dangerous.

Teens listed not only their names, and addresses, but even cell phone numbers and after school schedules.

Parry Aftab, Internet lawyer and safety expert: [It’s] one stop shopping for sexual predators, and they can shop by catalogue. Internet lawyer Parry Aftab started the Web site, and her safety tips appear on

Stafford: Do parents have any idea what some kids are posting on these sites?

Aftab: Parents are clueless. They’re caught like deer in the headlights.

Aftab educates parents and kids about the dangers lurking on the Web.

Aftab: Pedophiles are using all of the social networking sites. And every other anonymous Internet technology to find kids. The social networking sites are where kids are.

Aftab says even kids who don’t list their name and address can provide enough personal information— such as the kinds of bands and boys they love— for a pedophile to use to con their way into their lives.

Aftab: If someone knows you "like pina coladas and walks in the rain," it’s very easy online to be exactly what it is you’re looking for— to be your “soul mate.”

Stafford: Who might happen to be a 40 year old predator?

Aftab: Absolutely. The teens just don’t get it. To them, they’re talking to a computer monitor. They’re playing in an area where they don’t recognize the consequences. In the last month, authorities have charged at least three men with sexually assaulting teenagers they found through and just this week police found a missing 15-year-old girl who investigators say was sexually assaulted by a 26-year-old man she met through the site. MySpace members are now warning each other about the danger of sharing information online.

Aftab says parents need to find out what their kids are sharing.

Aftab: Say to your kids, “I’d like to see your profile page tomorrow.” It’s important that you give them a day to clean up their page. That will be the last time you give them warning.

Then Aftab says look at their site: Are the pictures provocative? Their profiles too detailed? Who are they talking to? And perhaps most important— have they kept their profiles private, protected by a password, to keep strangers out? would not agree to an on-camera interview but did tell “Dateline” via e-mail that it prohibits posting personal information and has a team that searches for and removes both underage users and offensive material.

MySpace said it does not pre-screen the content of its more than 50 million members, but encourages all of them to exercise caution.


Is MySpace the toilet of the blogosphere?

I'm beginning to wonder.

I think blogologists and blog consultants need to speak out on this. You help clients have effective blogs. But what about the teenage children of your clients? Who is protecting them?

Give your blog clients information on online safety and how to prevent sexual predators, homocidal maniacs, and other deviants from preying on children.

Blogs and Murder

I have blogged about "Blogs and Murder" (type those words into the Search This Site text entry box at top of this blog to see my posts).

Another great MSM article on MSNBC web site is:

"When murder hits the blogosphere"

[signed] steven edward streight aka vaspers the grate


carrie said...

yes. very good. you are right.
it's dangerous. thanks for helping to expose this.

carrie said...

i am happy that my 15 yr old sister set her profile to private.

steven edward streight said...

It's not really MySpace that seems, at this point, to be at fault.

It's the dumb ass parents. Parents who are too busy with their shopping, financial deals, whatever parents do these days to waste time and money foolishly. Same old story.

Parents cause 98% of all the evil in the world. It is parents, NOT genetic demons, who cause children to be autistic and schizophrenic. Poor junk food diets, anxieties, false teachings, etc.

Parents are pathetic.

They are not telling their children how to use the internet safely.

carrie said...

yes, but unfortunately, many parents think the internet is something they don't understand and never will.

steven edward streight said...

Carrie: you are one bright lass. That is probably the underlying psychology here.

What else do lazy parents "Not Understand":

rap music
punk rock
skin piercings
violent video games
Harry Potterization
peer pressure


Parents will not take the necessary few seconds to understand anything.

Well, better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

jenny said...

i just read about this on a blog called lostinlimaohio. this is what she said:

"Perhaps glancing at the history files on your family computer, visiting MySpace, signing up for an account and doing a search for your kids school, browsing some profiles for faces you know, and calling your kids in for a important conversation. Inside Dateline will be airing a special on MySpace, "Potential predators lurk on social networking sites too. Find out more next week on 'To Catch a Predator' III. The full hour airs February 3, Friday, 9 p.m. / 8 C." which will include live blogging on the topic, "Watch the show next Friday and join our live blog! The Inside Dateline blog will have live updates from Chris Hansen during Dateline's airing: Feb. 3, Friday, 9 p.m. ET."

Anonymous said...

I think with any popular website, this is to be expected. Infact, I think the whole internet is not safe. (Especially when 85% of the entire internet is a huge porn redux) I am a little miffed at your remark towards though. As a user of Myspace, I am skeptical but I do not blame them for the problem. Myspace (and their staff) can't control the behavior of the latest sexual predator or acute drug user, i.e. I think that publically slandering Myspace and blaming them for the root of all problems existing on the internet, consisting of violent crime and other mediums, is probably one of the lowest things you can say. Sure, you have a right to an opinion and I can understand why you are angry (well, honestly, I don't understand why you are angry), but pointing fingers to one website is definitely not the way to go.

Anonymous said...

I agree Steven, Myspace is definitely not to blame. I could easily point more fingers at blogspot than I could at Myspace. It's the entire internet. I don't care what anyone says but the fact remains that if 85% of the entire world wide web is made up of pornography, you know the internet is no longer safe. If anything, Myspace is beneficial to many people and as a popular website, it's to be expected but blaming the entire website is just unethical and definitely doesn't prove any points.

homesweethome said...

Myspace is not the only site that offers personal pages and that is something that media is doing wrong. They are targeting just the one site, which will lead parents to go there, check it out and think "ok, we are alright, my kid doesn't have a site at myspace". But they won't be looking at the other personal sites where their kids may have personal sites. Yes, parents need to be more aware, need to supervise their children's usage of the internet more. But the kids also need to be educated. They need to be taught that just because they don't use their real names, doesn't mean no one can find them thru the personal info they post like their school, city and street, activities they plan to attend along with a picture of themselves. And sadly, they need to be taught that their friends are not the only ones looking. As a matter of fact, they could be targeted by a predator and never even know that the predator had seen their site.