MySpace Isn’t the Problem

Shoot, will people lay off poor MySpace. Today the company hired a new Chief Security Officer, in response to a bunch of news stories about kids online safety. Yesterday, my mom called to make sure that I didn’t miss a Dateline story about the dangers of MySpace. Sorry, Ma. I spent time with my daughter rather than watch about parents that weren’t looking after their kids.

The problem isn’t social networking sites, but unmonitored kids and their uninvolved parents. In December I warned of kids risky, online behavior. But the greater risk is from the parents. C’mon, if kids are posting on public blogs, why should predators be reading them and not the parents? 

No question predators can stalk kids online and get lots of information about them. But predators can equally stake out kid hangouts, like shopping malls, movie theaters and schools. The greater risk here is one of creating a climate of fear.

I’ve perused MySpace; no question many teens—and adults, I might add—could show better judgment about what they post. But people show bad judgment everyday. Is it Ford’s fault if people drive without seat belts? No. Should there be a public recriminations and endless (and pointless) news stories about Apple and Nike because thieves snatch kids’ iPods or sneaks? No.

If people are so afraid of MySpace risks, I’ve got to emphasize: Risk is everywhere, and people will do stupid things. If you’re so afraid, join Patrick the starfish under a rock. Otherwise, get a life.