They cannot escape their bully because he can now follow them home. This is the new reality (Keith & Martin, pg 224).
In the years since the advent of MySpace there have been several cases of cyber bullying. In one case of the cyber bullying Megan Meier committed suicide as a result of a negative MySpace page, she was only 13 years old. In this particular case Megan was engaging in an online relationship with who she thought was a 16-year-old boy through MySpace. Megan and "Josh" communicated through the internet for several weeks. Initially there communications were good but then these conversations turned nasty and "Josh" finally told Megan that the world would be better off without her (Maag). She hung herself after reading this comment while communicating through MySpace.
About six weeks following Megan's death, it was discovered that Josh did not exists and in fact the persona had been a hoax created by some of Megan's neighbors (Maag). These neighbors were adults who used to "Josh" hoax to see if Megan was "talking bad about their child. This case grew nationwide attention, but no charges were filed against the neighbors because they apparently broke no laws (Maag).
In a more recent incident 8 teenagers were charged as adults after luring a classmate to a house and then beating her for half an hour. The beating occurred as a result of messages that the victim supposedly placed on a MySpace page. According to one report "the teens say they did it because the victim was trash-talking them on MySpace. Apparently they felt that by posting the video they could get a double payback by humiliating the girl on the Internet while gaining a little fame (Young)."
In this case six girls are accused of beating the victim, while two boys stood outside and prevented the victim from leaving the house. All eight of the perpetrators will be charged as adults even though only one of them is actually an adult. This was a very brutal attack and the perpetrators videotaped the fiasco and placed the video on the internet. In this instance, it is obvious that no one was properly supervising these children. The parents of the victim were not making sure that she was not putting disparaging remarks up on MySpace and the parents of the perpetrators were not teaching their children how to deal with conflicts in a way that does not involve kidnapping and a brutal beating.
Although it is obvious that more supervision of these children is necessary, many blame MySpace and Youtube for inciting the teenagers because they wanted to experience "fame." However, many other media outlets have replayed the video over and over again since the incident occurred but neither Youtube nor MySpace have the video up for viewing any longer. In fact, Youtube removed the video quite quickly after it was posted. While it is apparent that MySpace and other internet sites could be monitored more carefully, most of the responsibility lies with the parents and if parents cannot control their children it is unclear why people think that these internet social networking sites can do it for them.
These cases point to the difficulty associated with monitoring what people do from the privacy of their own homes. In addition, these incidences are evidence that the laws that govern cyber communications are not as stringent as they should be. Unfortunately there are no easy answers to these very difficult questions. Speaking of Difficult problems to solve the issue of online child predators is also a very serious issue for MySpace that does not have easy answers.
Online Child Predators
In addition to the aforementioned problems associated with MySpace and other social networking sites, the problem of child predators is also a major problem for MySpace and the internet in general. Every since MySpace became a popular site, this has been a major concern. The problem lies in the anonymity of the internet because people can be dishonest and in many cases child predators pose as teenagers and lure children into meeting them in person.
MySpace has been named in several instances of children being molested or raped. In fact in 2006 MySpace was sued by the parents of a 14-year-old who was raped by a man she met on My Space (Bangeman). In this case the girl developed a relationship with this man and one day he picked her up from school, took her to a movie and dinner and then he took her to his apartment and raped her. MySpace was named in the lawsuit because even though it had age requirements they did not verify whether or not the information provided is accurate (Bangeman). As a result, children have routinely been preyed upon by people posing as their peers.
MySpace administrators realize that this is a serious problem and the website has attempted to combat the problem.
On more than one occasion MySpace has swept the website and been able to find and remove predators that were posting on the site. However, removing all the predators is a difficult challenge because of the anonymity of the internet. To this end MySpace has also created a Child Predator blocks. MySpace is working in conjunction with various states to fight child predators that operate over the internet. According to CNN MySpace has entered an agreement with 45 states to prevent online predators from getting access to children through MySpace ("MySpace, states move to block sex offenders").
Under this agreement MySpace will work with other companies and agencies to develop new technologies to combat the problem. MySpace has also agreed to a more accurate of checking date of birth and other facts about subscribers. In addition, the website will agree to independent monitoring ("MySpace, states move to block sex offenders"). According to the article MySpace will also agreed to Permit parents to submit e-mail addresses of their children to MySpace to stop people form using the addresses to create MySpace profiles.
Allow the default setting to be "private" for 16- and 17-year-old minors.
Respond to complaints within a72-hour time period as it pertains to inappropriate content and hire additional staff and allocate more resources to classify pictures and discussion groups.
Enhance software so that underage users can be identified.
Develop a section of the site that is only for high school users under the age of 18 ("MySpace, states move to block sex offenders").
MySpace hopes that adressing the aforementioned issues wil assists in preventing predators access to the children the frequent MySpace. Addressing this issue has long been a concern for state legislators and for MySpace. It is a difficult undertaking because many federal and state laws were written at a time when technologies such as MySpace were not even thought of or considered. With this being understood legislators througout the country have been forced to scramble to ensire that the laws are consistent with the technologies that exist.
The problem of Child predators online did not begin with MySpace and it probably will not end with the networking site.
However, it is apparent that MySpace is making a concerted effort to prevent child predators from using the site to lure victims. It is a very difficult problem to confront because of the amount of traffic the site has on a daily basis and the number of people who have MySpace pages. All in all it appears that the site is doing all it can to protect children from child predators, but a great deal of the responsibility will be on the shoulders of parents to take the time and monitor the online activity of their children.
Music and Recording Artists
MySpace also has implications for recording artists and has had an effect on the recording industry. For unsigned or underground recording artists MySpace has become a place where artists can share their work with people across the world. People can listen to and download sons from up and coming artists. It has proven to be a great and efficient way to advertise and attract people to new artists. In some cases MySpace in combination with other internet sites have created a unique place for unsigned or independent artists to get their music heard and to connect with the public.
In addition, artists who are signed to a record label find MySpace to be an excellent way of connecting with fans in a more personal way. MySpace allows artist to upload videos and audio. In some cases artists have video or audio blogs on their MySpace pages as a means to keep fans and the public aware of new projects and so on. One article explains that MySpace Music is the prime convergence point for bands and fans. Users can search for artists by name, genre, location or keyword. The section promotes new and well-established acts through exclusive content such as streaming…