Friday, January 19, 2007

The Lame Blame Game

Lawsuits were filed yesterday against MySpace on behalf of the parents of five underage girls (ages 14-15) who were lured into sexual rendezvous with pervs they met through MySpace. The suits allege that MySpace was negligent and reckless for not “attempt[ing] to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users” sooner (CNN). Huh?

Since when did MySpace take on sole responsibility for protecting children from Internet predators? I mean, where were the parents when the girls were arranging hook-ups with unknown individuals via the Internet? Were the parents paying attention to what their kids were doing on the Internet? More importantly – since no parent can monitor a teenager 24/7 – did they inform and then maintain an ongoing dialogue with their daughters about the dangers inherent in posting personal information and using the Internet as a way to meet people? I suspect not. And now they want to blame someone. Someone other than themselves, that is.

While what happened to these girls is tragic and I feel for the girls as well as their parents, it is not MySpace’s fault that there are sleaze-balls trolling the Internet. The guilty parties here are the depraved individuals who engaged the underage girls in sex; the conduit they happened to use to arrange the hook-ups is incidental. If you don’t agree, consider this. What if a perv happened to hook up with a girl hanging out in a mall food court? Would we think it was appropriate to sue the mall because it should have provided better security? Of course not. Malls are not ultimately responsible for overseeing the activities of teens; parents are.

That said, my intention is not to victimize the parents involved but rather to point out the flaw in trying to lay the blame on MySpace. The truth is, far too few parents do all the ‘right things' when it comes to orienting their teens to the dangers of the Internet. Suing MySpace does absolutely nothing to change that. If anything, it creates the false impression that the Internet would be safe if only MySpace had been faster to implement security measures, a notion that we all should realize is lame.


Blondie said...

I totally agree with you--where were the PARENTS?? WTF? Why sue My Space? So you can share the blame with someone else and make a quick buck. That is so lame.

Steve said...

The reason might be that even though the responsibility is mainly on the child,MySpace is giving predators a chance to ensnare unwary children.As a parent I try to monitor my kid's activities.I'm not the CIA or FBI however so I'm not aware of all that goes on.