Before we even begin down the tube on this posting, I want to say that in no way is MySpace a haven for these offenders. They are everywhere, all networks. You might be sitting next to one in your office or one lives up the street. MySpace has taken a stance to remove the profiles of these people (USA Today article). They have even gone so far as to begin building safeguards in allowing anyone over 18 to search the profiles of those below 18.
Let me focus on that issue for a moment. While this is a major step by a social network of this size, who validates the birth year for anyone on any social network? How many of you actually use your real birth year? Yes, I am talking to you. You know you do not. Even the Attorney General of Connecticut, Roy Blumenthal, states he knows there is fake names/birthdays in this NY Times article:
Mr. Blumenthal said in a statement. “For every one of them, there may be hundreds of others using false names and ages.”
One of the facets of the online social networks is not the fear of using them. It should be the responsibility of the person to secure their information that they intend to share.
It is admirable that the attorney generals of states are taking this stance, even working with Facebook now, but what about the ones that have alternate names or have not been caught? That goes back to you, the public using the sites. I get a lot of feedback from readers saying the sites should do more. I agree and hope that we make a difference. But it all has to start with the parents and your own ability to protect your information.
So make a visit to your kids friend list and even your own. Take a new visit to the privacy section and see what you are sharing. I am often surprised. Then again I am not.