Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Myspace fighting Predators

MySpace Fighting Internet Predators

Monday, January 14, 2008; Posted: 4:10 p.m. (CDT)

MySpace announced it's planning a major overhaul on Monday.

Julie Bays is Oklahoma's Assistant Attorney General with the Consumer Protection Unit. She says, "It took two years working with MySpace and trying to figure out what the issues really were and how we could make it safer for our children."

The issue hits close to home for Bays. She's also the mother of a 13-year-old son.

"There's a lot of kids on it. A lot of children that my son hangs out with are on it and it's a scary thing," says Bays. "They can get stalkers, they can run across pedophiles and they can run across bullies."

She says a joint statement with MySpace is a step in the right direction. It was signed by all 50 attorneys general including Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Bays says, "We're hoping that MySpace will be the model for protecting children."

The international website, which is used by millions, agreed to allow parents to submit their children's e-mail addresses to a list. The list would prohibit them from setting up a MySpace account.

It has also agreed to review and respond to inappropriate content and to commit the staff and resources necessary to do so. In addition, MySpace will work to educate children and parents about internet safety.

"We still want to tell parents, they're the first line of defense when protecting your children. MySpace is a dangerous place for children," says Bays. "The steps taken aren't the answer, the complete answer. It's just the beginning."

In my opinion, blocking an email address given by parents is going to do little to prevent that child from setting up a myspace account. How easy is it to go get a new one from Google or Yahoo? I don't have the answers, but I sure do have a lot of questions.

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