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Parents To Block Kids From Joining MySpace 337

Reservoir Hill writes "A New York Times blog notes that attorneys general of 49 states are announcing a partnership with MySpace to fight sexual predators on social networks by letting parents submit the e-mail addresses of their children, so the company can prevent anyone from using that address to set up a profile. MySpace will also set up a 'closed' section for users under age 18 so only their established online friends can visit their pages. MySpace also promises to hire a contractor to identify and delete pornographic images on the site. 'This set of principles is a landmark and milestone because it involves an acknowledgment of the importance of age and identity authentication,' said Connecticut attorney General Richard Blumenthal." Blumenthal also actually said "If we can put a man on the moon..."
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Parents To Block Kids From Joining MySpace

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  • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:27PM (#22045174) Homepage Journal
    With a half-zillion free email providers out there, blocking a kid's email address will last all of two minutes. All they have to do is create an alias at Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

    It reminds me of the early days of Hotmail, when they "verified" that you were a US resident by having you enter a matching city and ZIP code. Which just meant that all their overseas users lived in Beverly Hills, 90210.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:30PM (#22045228) Homepage
      You think 90210 is fun? Well I'm from Canada, so whenever I need a fake address, I use the postal code H0H 0H0. Looks like I'm getting some coal in my stocking.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fyre2012 ( 762907 )
        you live in the north pole?

        I live in Canada and when I was a kid my parents used to get us to write letters to Santa, and they were sent to 1 Candy Cane Lane, North Pole, H0H 0H0.
        Back in the day when people wrote letters to santa instead of just calling him []
    • by jorghis ( 1000092 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:36PM (#22045290)
      This isnt about providing real security. Its about myspace getting some publicity and paying lip service to doing the right thing. Its more symbolic than anything. Sure, people will still get around it, but myspace will be able to say "hey, we are doing our best to stop them".
      • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:45PM (#22045870)
        I think people are missing the opportunity here. Instead of thinking about how idiotic this idea is and how it's just MySpace getting "free publicity" (they need any?), consider this: If we all start registering random email addresses with MySpace's "do not call list", maybe we can save someone from the horrible horrible slip of sane judgment of getting a MySpace account in the first place.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by I8TheWorm ( 645702 ) *
          What's funny to me is the warm-fuzzy the nonparenting parents out there are going to get when they register their childrens' one and only email addresses with this. With the country finally turning towards parents to actually do some parenting, isn't this just the solution they need?

          "Why, my little Amy can't use myspace... I've registered with them. What? No, I don't think is her.... Can't be."

          Bartender, a round
      • by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:52PM (#22045916)
        So? Fake problem, fake solution, everybody's happy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gnick ( 1211984 )

        ...but myspace will be able to say "hey, we are doing our best to stop them".

        I'm assuming that I'm one of a million of /.ers that has witnessed this, but this is incredibly common in my arena. There's a safety/security problem in a related facility, so we do something nonsensical but somewhat related. Productivity and morale go down, but we can say we responded to a potential problem proactively. Considering the litigious society we live in, it makes a sick kind of sense. Once you combine a half a dozen facilities all doing the same thing, the issue compounds exponentially.


      • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:20AM (#22046192)
        So Myspace built itself up to be a massive site for people looking at pictures of young and/or underage girls. It started with the 20-something crowd, but the teenagers made it explode. Now Myspace is a huge site, and cuts a deal with the AG to stop things. Now, if an upstart site starts bringing in Myspace's target customers, who wants to bet that Myspace can sic those same AG's on the upstart competition.

        The teenage market is REALLY important to getting a new social technology adopted, and Myspace basically agreed to reduce their service a bit, in return for defacto preventing any competition from targeting them at all.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by torkus ( 1133985 )
          I'm sorry, but it sounds like you're saying myspace is a pedophile's community and is nothing more than a venue for dirty old men to look at innocent young girls. It's not.

          You're assuming that the .00001% case (which is the only thing that makes the news) is the common occurrance. There are two things that might come of all this 1) nothing 2) myspace gets dumped for another site.

          Pre-teens, teens, and early 20's are by FAR the most fickle consumers. One day everyone is buying brand XYZ jeans for $100 a p
      • by JimBobJoe ( 2758 ) <> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:58AM (#22046556)
        Its about myspace getting some publicity and paying lip service to doing the right thing.

        I disagree. This was all about elected politicians getting publicity and paying lip service to make it appear they are doing something about a "problem" that was way overblown by the media to begin with.

        Myspace is going along with it because they have to--but the horse and pony show belongs to the state attorney generals, not Myspace.
      • MySpace is dead (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        I saw a "GetOutta MySpace" T-shirt on a young teenager yesterday. I think that's a pretty good sign that MySpace isn't considered "kewl" any more. Something about laserless sharks, and jumping, I think.

        Hell, I'm 55 and I've had a (unupdated) MySpace page for a couple of years, that alone should make it uncool.

        You're right about the publicity and lip service. There is way too much attention paid to the internet, when there are greater dangers close to home. I wrote a journal [] about that very topic last year,
    • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:50PM (#22045440)
      well I don't know about you, but in my house, everyones email login and password is saved locally on every machine in the house.

      My son could bypass any system to verify parental consent easily. However, in my house we practice this apparently rare thing called, 'mutual respect' whereby he doesn't do such things, and I don't invade his privacy. It's all about trust really, and that has to be taught, it can't be either assumed or enforced by stupid schemes like this one.
      • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:01PM (#22045520) Homepage
        That takes me back. I used to scam my parents all the time too, and it won't be long until my kids are old enough to look me in the eye with a straight face and lie through their teeth. They grow up so fast. :(
        • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:28AM (#22046252) Homepage
          I bet your parents weren't capable of putting a sniffer on the network and recording all of your traffic, either.

          You, on the other hand... ...and don't give me crap about "kids have a right to privacy." They don't, especially when it comes to communication with strangers.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

            don't give me crap about "kids have a right to privacy." They don't, especially when it comes to communication with strangers.

            If we're teaching kids that they don't have a right to privacy, it's no wonder they don't value it as adults. Now I see why there's been so little uproar over Big Daddy Government listening in our phone calls.

            Sure, newborns have no right to privacy, couldn't even understand the concept. But the right of privacy doesn't suddenly switch on at 18. It's a continuous function of mat

          • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @03:24AM (#22047440)
            Considering the fact that there was no such thing as a "home network" to monitor until sometime in the last 20 years, not having the skills to do so actually seems quite reasonable.

            But I don't know why you think that kids don't have a right to privacy. If you seriously expect your kids to share everything with you, then you're a moron of the highest degree. If you try to invade what privacy kids attempt to make for themselves (I.E. "tell me what Janie said or you're grounded") then you're setting yourself up for one hell of a rebellion later in their life. It will not be pretty, to think it might turn out all right is naive.

            I can understand not wanting your kids to not talk to strangers, but that's better handled by teaching your children not to talk to strangers than attempting to monitor their communication. You can either punish a kid every time they talk to strangers, or you can teach them that bad things can happen because there are bad people out there.
          • Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:34AM (#22047756) Journal
            Why do kids not have a right to privacy?

            And why would such a right magically turn on at 18?

            Tell you what -- before I had a computer entirely my own, I was certainly allowed to have a pencil and paper. And I was allowed to keep it in a secret place, if I wanted to. And my parents did not read my various diaries (though there weren't many attempts).

            When I went out, I could go pretty much anywhere, I just had to tell them where I was going, and not stay out too late (most of the time). When I got a cell phone, they didn't screen my calls, they didn't have access to my call logs.

            My parents apparently did a good job teaching me mutual respect. And the process has nothing to do with the Internet. I suspect this sudden Puritanical paranoia has much more to do with the tendency of people to suspend all reason [] when it comes to computers.
            • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @10:09AM (#22049526) Journal
              Why do kids not have a right to privacy?

              Because they're KIDS. Kids aren't just short adults. They are uncshooled, immature, naive, easily taken advantage of. It's your job as a parent to protect them and nurture and teach them.

              And why would such a right magically turn on at 18?

              It doesn't. More and more privacy is granted as the child gets older. An infant has no privacy whatever; a five year old has some, a ten year old has more. You give them privacy (and responsibility) when they need and can handle it.

              I just had to tell them where I was going

              And as an adult I don't have to tell anybody where I'm going. Your parents obviously did it right - you didn't even realise that your privacy was limited!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by uhlume ( 597871 )
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dr_dank ( 472072 )
        However, in my house we practice this apparently rare thing called, 'mutual respect' whereby he doesn't do such things, and I don't invade his privacy.

        There's no more time for that! The TV tells me that the internet is trying to fuck my children!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        in my house we practice this apparently rare thing called, 'mutual respect' whereby he doesn't do such things, and I don't invade his privacy

        Just keep telling yourself that.

      • If you have that kind of trust with your kid, and taught him well, then for them there's no need for this new stuff to keep them off myspace. Keep in mind this is intended to keep out kids who want to get on without their parents permission. The healthy relationship you seem to share with your kid won't have any use for this, but such a relationship is rare. Most parents I've known never cared to actually justify their reasons for anything to their children, assuming the children should do as their told
      • You're a sucker... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:29AM (#22047738) Homepage
        However, in my house we practice this apparently rare thing called, 'mutual respect' whereby he doesn't do such things, and I don't invade his privacy.

        Actually, in your house, you practice this thing called willful ignorance, where by not checking you let yourself believe he's not doing anything.

        I used to be a kid, so I know the only way you can know what your kid is up to is to trust, but validate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hosecoat ( 877680 )
      "With a half-zillion free email providers out there, blocking a kid's email address will last all of two minutes."

      Have some faith, blocking email addresses obviously worked for spam.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by igb ( 28052 )

      All they have to do is create an alias at Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

      There's an acceptable use policy in our house, documented, which the kids have had explained to them. If they break it, they'll find that there aren't computers available for them use, and they can explain any ensuing school problems themselves. I could, if I wished, enforce the ``only mail accounts permitted are those on the Cyrus server Dad keeps in a datacentre'' at the border by transparently proxying into Squid. But at the moment the AUP

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
      You'd be amazed how many PS3 owners live there. :p

      It's not just the old days. The old workaround of downright lying about where you live still works fine.
  • by Kahless2k ( 799262 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:27PM (#22045182) Homepage
    Really.. When I was younger I told my parents what all my email addresses were, and I would never have created a new hotmail, etc address without telling them......

    Someone needs a dose of reality.
    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:09PM (#22045590)
      This is just another attempt by some politicians to claim that they are fighting to protect our children. Later on, when nobody actually remembers any of this, these politicians can tell a cheering crowd, "I worked hard to give parents the ability to limit their child's MySpace access, and help shield their children from sexual predators online." Of course it is idiotic, and children will find a way around it in less than a minute, but if this were really about protecting our children, it would be an educational program, not another pathetic attempt at technical measures to block their access.
      • This is just another attempt by some politicians to claim ...

        True, but that doesn't answer the underlying question to this effort, or efforts like this in the future, and that is "How can a parent parent in the internet age?"

        Today, both parents work (often by necessity) and have little available time and energy, while kids generally have less supervision, more privacy, mobility, and loads of discretionary income. And that's in a Best Of scenario where single-parent households and troubled kids aren't the
    • When I was younger, I told my mother I was "chatting" with someone in Germany with a Shell account and she had no idea what I was talking about. When I'd tell people about the Internet, people would look at me cross-eyed.

      Most of my e-mail was done with TeleMate over FidoNet. I could plagiarize CD Based encyclopedias and nobody knew the wiser.

      It must suck to grow up in the Internet Age.

      On a related note, I think sending in your kids' e-mail addresses isn't the worst idea. It would at least keep very you
    • These are interesting times. I'm a relatively new father (the elder of the two will turn 3 in a few weeks.) When I lived with my parents, I was the only one in my house with an e-mail account. My parents only had the vaguest idea what one was. It makes things complicated when making rules for young-uns. My eldest plays computer games, but only during approved times. He's (obviously) not myspacing yet, but I'm sure he will. And parents like me are in new territory. Fortunately, many of us are tech-sa
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        Fortunately, many of us are tech-savvy, but still in an awkward situation.

        As the parent of two now-grown girls I can tell you that technology has nothing to do with it. Being a parent is an awkward situation.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:28PM (#22045188)
    I've seen on Slashdot all month. Parents can submit email addresses all day long, and their kids will create disposable addresses all day long.

    Pointless, but I suppose it makes the parents feel like they're doing something.
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:28PM (#22045190)
    I'll start by submitting the e-mail addresses of everyone I dislike and claim to be their parents and say that they are lieing about their age. Another well thought out government idea.
  • Statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:28PM (#22045200)
    And exactly how many rapes and molestations occur because of MySpace? How about we place the same restrictions on schools and churches, where you are certainly more likely to end up being molested.

    Also, since when did we place the responsibility on the WEBSITE to prevent an IP address from reaching it? And what about DHCP? What about the next person that gets your IP in a few months? Why can't you filter out access on your own rather than placing the burden of your absurd paranoia on websites that have nothing to do with your ridiculous "my baby gonna get raped" fantasies?

    And no, I didn't RTFA. Look at my UID. I'm old school and that's how I roll.
    • I've got an idea. Why don't we make all minors walk around with an artificial (if necessary, or just pump 'em up on Big Macs) beer belly and a Nixon mask? 'Cuz nobody's gonna want that...

      I mean, think of the children!
  • by Cherveny ( 647444 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:29PM (#22045206) Homepage
    What do you bet there may be a long list of people wanting that job?
  • Only 49 states? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EsonLinji ( 723693 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:31PM (#22045242) Homepage
    I'm wondering just which state is not taking part in this scheme? And could kids just claim to be from there to avoid the list.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BeanThere ( 28381 )

      Seemingly Texas []. (Saying 'agreement to protect young users against sexual predators doesn't go far enough')

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JavaManJim ( 946878 )
      Yes its Texas. For sometimes good reasons and more often bad ones (as in the Microsoft monopoly case). This time its a good reason. The attorney general says the agreement did not go far enough about verifying ages. I don't know how an any age verification would work. Factual data like emails or birth dates can be easily faked. Perhaps name the continents? No, that would knock out a lot of college students today. Thumbprints? DNA samples anyone? []
  • 50th state? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Whats the 1 state that hasn't jumped in on this?
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:38PM (#22045328)
    This list sounds like a perfect high-value target for every malware distributor and sicko in the net. I'd bet that most kids are worse than their parents at opening emails and clicking yes to "interesting" installs. "OOOHH! A free Pony Screen Saver!" Pwned by ponies....
    • more like a one stop shop for anyone who gets hold of the list on whatever server myspace is going to be using to make all of this work. emails that work no less, perfect for spamming and anything else you can think of.
  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:50PM (#22045442)
    "Your honor, I trusted myspace to verify the age of the people I met online. I know she only looks 13 your honor, but her profile said she was 19!"

    • by slew ( 2918 )
      No this doesn't give "them" an alibi, it gives myspace a safe harbor...
  • Better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:52PM (#22045452) Homepage
    One of the comments below TFA has it right, I think. No competent kid is going to be slowed down by more than a few seconds by these restrictions. Better to allow them to create a profile openly -- and for their parents to create a MySpace persona to keep tabs on them and see what's being posted etc.

    Most of the people that I know who are old enough to have kids on MySpace know a LOT less about using the Internet than their kids do. (Yeah, I know; there will be a few /.ers reading this who have kids and who DO know what they're doing; I'm not talking about you.)

    Any "security" measures designed to "protect" kids don't have a chance of working unless either:
    • The kids want them to work, and/or
    • The security measures take into account that the kids are very knowledgeable and their parents generally aren't.
  • Don't you think that is a little strong to be calling a parent's actions to provide a good environment censorship?

    P.S. Don't ask what I think a good environment is. I haven't had kids but I believe it resembles the one I grew up in.
    • Not really. Part of the job of a parent is to decide what their kid is ready for. Good or bad, it's still censorship.
    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:23PM (#22045700)
      Except that this isn't parents trying to provide a good environment, it is just parents trying to bar their children from access to a certain website. Parents trying to provide a good environment would sit down and talk about the dangers of sexual predators on MySpace and similar websites, and instruct their children to immediately contact mommy or daddy if someone starts propositioning them for sex (not that we live in a culture where parents are encouraged to discuss anything pertaining to sex with their children). Growing up, the Internet was just starting to reach its current level of popularity, and my mother was very clear with me when we got our first computer about what to do if someone asked to meet me or started talking about sex, I listened, and there was never a problem with me using the computer, even if I was unsupervised.

      Oh well, we haven't encouraged parents to actually speak to their kids about this stuff for a long time, opting to shield children from anything deemed harmful by anyone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bonker ( 243350 )
        If I had mod points today...

        We were doing so well at the end of the 90s getting everyone to acknowledge the need for sex education. Then the 'Abstinence Only Education' people started showing up, making a worse mockery out of 'education' than the 'Intelligent Design' people ever dreamed of.

        Parents: TALK TO YOUR DAMNED KIDS ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO FUCK THEM! It'll do a whole hell of a lot more to keep them safe than any kind of monitoring software or any absurd volume of legislation.
  • Parents have choice over the content their children view; children do not. It is part of the parenting process; this is just a tool for such, like the V-chip. Different parents hold different values, and children mature at different rates, so such tools are not really that bad, given that once somebody becomes of legal age, such restrictions are gone. For example: I've been able to watch R rated movies since the age of 5, yet in the early 90's when we first got a computer and the internet, my old man kep
  • Much better idea is to include info about internet predators, etc. in sex ed class. If done right would do much more to prevent problems than trying to tie My Space to email accounts which many respondents have pointed out is so easy to bypass. Forbiding kids from doing something just makes it more enticing. Realistically explaining the dangers of things is more effective than prohibition.
    • Unfortunately, in a fair bit of this country right now there *is no* sex-ed class. 'Cause if they don't hear about *safe* practices in school, of *course* they won't have sex. ::rolls eyes::
  • Attack tree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Digital_Quartz ( 75366 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:00PM (#22045518) Homepage
    So, in security, we have this notion called an "attack tree". Let's suppose you want to stop someone from stealing your family jewels. You put the in a safe, and all is well, right? Well... maybe not. We create this tree, where the root is "steal the jewels", and the children under the root are various ways you might accomplish this ("Use a key to open the safe", "Drill out the hinges on the safe", "Create hole in safe"). And each of these nodes can be divided out further into more children, so to use a key for example, you either need to steal a key, or be one of the people who has a legitimate use for the key, or be the locksmith who installed the lock.

    Similarly, if the attackers goal is "molest my children", then you have an attack tree that might have "hang out by the school", or "give candy full of drugs", and so forth. "Lure children on the internet" is one child of that tree, and "lure children using MySpace" would be a subchild.

    For each of these nodes, there's a cost associated with fixing the problem. Ideally, you fix the problem right at the top of the tree, so for example we could make sure our keys are only given to a select group of people whom we trust, that our keys are locked securely in other safes (excepting the obvious recursion problem), and kill the locksmith. OR, we could go up one node in the tree, and eliminate the key altogether, and use an electronic keypad with a user definable code, which neatly solves the entire problems of keys.

    Similarly, we can do some sort of bizzare and flawed attempt to do age verification using email addresses to stop pervs on MySpace (How do we stop kids from creating multiple accounts? How do we know the parents are the ones submitting the email address and not a malicious party intent on removing a MySpace page?), and we can implement the same system on all the social networking sites, and all the online games, and all the other online communications systems in the world, effectively black-holing our children and removing them from this filthy online world... Or, we could go up one node in the tree, and tell our kids "Don't go visit weirdos on the internet without telling us first", just like we tell our kids "Don't take candy from strangers", and "Don't get into cars with people you don't know".

    Not to say that we can't take steps at multiple levels in the tree; I just think there are steps we could take which are more effective.
    • Don't forget "look both ways before flossing."
    • An excellent comment. Wish I had mod points to give.

      The only real technical hurdle that I can think of that would work would be to block access to MySpace at the entry point of broadband into the house. Naturally, this doesn't stop kids accessing it from their friend's house or from school, work (if they have a casual office job) or anywhere else, but it would stop it happening so much at home.

      The much better idea would be monitor, not stop the usage of internet sites. Either tell the kid or do it sil
    • by symbolic ( 11752 )
      You know what else makes this whole thing rediculous? How many kids have you heard of being attacked by so-called 'predators' they came in contact with through MySpace? By contrast, how many kids have been molested by people they know and trust - in real life? Teachers seem to be one of the biggest risks these days - especially when it comes to female teachers and under-aged (male) students. I can't help but notice that the safety measures they've come up do all of nothing to combat what appear to be more c
      • by Mr2001 ( 90979 )

        By contrast, how many kids have been molested by people they know and trust - in real life? Teachers seem to be one of the biggest risks these days - especially when it comes to female teachers and under-aged (male) students. I can't help but notice that the safety measures they've come up do all of nothing to combat what appear to be more common vectors of predatory involvement.

        That's not "predatory involvement" or molestation.

        I know people like to joke about that scenario ("ha ha I wish my teacher had done that"), but seriously, there's a huge gulf between a child being molested and a teenager having consensual sex(*): one is a victim, and the other isn't.

        But overall you're right. If a kid is going to be victimized, the predator is much more likely to be someone s/he knows and trusts in real life -- a teacher, coach, priest, relative, etc. -- than a stranger s/he met over the in

  • This won't work for all of the above reasons. I think parents are going to have to learn that if they want their children to not do bad things on the computer that they are going to have to monitor their children themselves. There simply isn't anyway to pull anything like this off without some major governmental privacy violations. So I think we should stop wasting millions and let parents raise their children. I'm sure parenting children is a tough job, but I think it's one best left to those that made th
  • I suspect many people know that this is bogus. It's just something that's easy to do politically and legally and gives the appearance as if MySpace and politicians are "doing something".

    I wouldn't complain to loudly about it; it's far better than if they actually came up with something effective instead.
  • You must EDUCATE kids. Hiding them in a bubble solves nothing. It is an insult to their intelligence, and it teaches them falsities about the world. Ratings on media can be a beautiful thing as it can act as a warning sign for parents who may need to sit down and have a talk with their child before injecting them with the media. On the other hand, systems like the V-Chip, or in this case, "banning" children from "myspace", end up with children missing something without the understanding as to why. The
    • by aXis100 ( 690904 )
      I disagree, but then again I'm not a parent or psychologist.

      I think that children are growing up too fast these days. Between the media, computers entertainment and fashion we have: 12 year olds dressing like sluts, children desensitised to murder and violence, obesity, inactivity, attention defecit.... the list goes on. I'd rather see kids be kids for alot longer, I'm pretty sure it worked fine for the generations before us.

      Personally if/when I have a child I'll be sheilding them from alot of this until
  • Today, the Attorneys General of 49 states took another step towards running for governor by knocking down yet another straw-man.

    There, fixed that story for you. No need to thank me.

  • Kids who aren't smart enough to come up with an email address that their parents don't know genuinely do need to be protected from online predators, who will abuse their ignorance.

    Also this way, rather then imposing arbitrary restriction based on age, their is a built in opt out based on a child's actual readiness to dis-regard their parents tech ignorance.
  • All someone has to do is write a script that systematically generates and submits email addresses, and no one would ever be able to create a new Myspace account ever again!

    (Yes, I know, you'd probably need to make a full-scale DDOS out of it so that MySpace can't tell that all the submissions are coming from the same IP address, and it's entirely possible that you'd crash Myspace's servers before successfully submitting all of the possible email addresses at pingable domains. Perhaps a more attainable goal
  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:48PM (#22045886) Homepage
    children everywhere are being hospitalized due to uncontrolled fits of laughter.

    And later, nerds who read news want to create a blacklist to block stupid politicians and law makers from being able to make new laws.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:54PM (#22045934) Journal
    Infact I could see why not?

    Maybe as a CEO of a major telecom I could charge an extra $5 a month to firewall sites. ... oh wait proxies. Nevermind unless there is a way to block them too.

    Or I could just charge $5 a month more and have the kids still find free proxies to go around it.

    In the meantime a simple fix in the /system32/etc/host file by adding the I.P. for for scares my kids quite well and blocks myspace. Good thing they haven't figured out that one yet.
  • My way worked (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rossz ( 67331 ) < minus language> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:02AM (#22045988) Homepage Journal
    I had the home network running through a transparent proxy which blocked certain websites. MySpace was on the block list (because the kid broke the rules about posting personal information, such as phone numbers).

    She could still get to MySpace if she went to a friend's house, but the inconvenience of doing that made it "not a fun thing."

    The blocking by email system is nothing but a feel-good bandaid that does nothing.
  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:41AM (#22046386)
    I think the larger issue that American society is presented with is not the ways parents must adapt to new technologies to keep up with their kids and teens, but rather, all the ways in which despite the promise of "convenience" of these technologies, middle-class American families have less time to foster the kind of physically present, interpersonal relationships with their children that are necessary for proper social development. We are inundated by the tidal wave of information and content, overstimulated by the omnipresent reach of media--whether it is in the form of television, print, internet, wireless, radio, or film, there can be no doubt that these technologies have enriched our lives in profound ways. However, parents across the country are conducting on a heretofore unprecedented and massive scale a social experiment with their children, raising them from the cradle to adulthood amidst this sea of instant communication, because they are either unwilling or unable to actually spend the time to be, well, parents. To be fair, the kids don't make it any easier--they see what their friends are doing, and for them, hanging out online is the equivalent (or better) to hanging out in person. They will naturally gravitate to those methods that are least understood by their parents.

    In short, over the last 20 years, the interaction between parent and child has significantly degraded in both the quality of communication as well as its duration. As technologies to facilitate virtual socialization advance, their effect on the nuclear family structure will have long-lasting social and cultural effects.

    Again, this is not to say that technology is bad, or that the only "true" way to raise a family is to completely sever one's connection to the wired (and wireless) world. It is, however, a wake up call. Is it really necessary to put television screens and DVD players in those minivans and SUVs? Do children really need to be babysat like this in a car? What ever happened to learning how to sit patiently? What ever happened to learning to develop one's imagination? I grew up without these toys; my parents drove me around all the time and I didn't need to be entertained. When it comes to MySpace or the internet in general, the genie's already out of the bottle. These measures are laughable, because it's not merely too little too late--talking about how easily circumvented such measures are is actually irrelevant, because the fact of the matter is, we wouldn't be in this mess if parents actually parented, and kids weren't so addicted to media. Playing email games and spying on one's children is not parenting. Taking the time to learn and understand them is far more effective. But that's easier said than done--corporate America has had us passive consumers in the palm of their hands for quite some time now. They are the ones bringing up today's children, grooming them to be the indentured servants of tomorrow's economy. And to prove my point, I think it's particularly telling that when the "threat level" is raised to "orange" or some other stupid color of the week, signifying that we should all be scared into signing our rights away, the government has the gall to tell us in the very same breath to "continue shopping and act like everything is normal."

    This MySpace situation is not about trust or technology. It's really only one small facet of the greater reality that we are living in a society so fueled by rampant consumerism and debt that parents have lost the ability to raise well-adjusted children.
  • we can keep one off uranus?!
  • by Neoncow ( 802085 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @01:07AM (#22046632) Journal
    FEAR FEAR! Hide your precious Children away! Terrorists, SEX, HACKERS!

    They might learn something about the Internet! They might be exposed to the outside world! They might learn something from their experiences! They might compete with the rest of us in the global economy!

    FEAR FEAR! Hide your Children away!
  • Real problems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pedrop357 ( 681672 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @01:19AM (#22046704)
    So rather then deal with many times a day actual sexual abuse of young people AGAINST THEIR WILL by adults, they're choosing to put all attention, and diverting everyone else's attention, to a problem that is at least 50% the fault of the young person and happens maybe twice a month at the most.

    Occasionally, adults 18-25 "lure" young girls 14-17 into sexual encounters. What usually happens is some socially inept 18-22 year old spends several weeks/months talking to a 14-16 year old online, the usually talk on the phone a bit, sometimes talk via web cam, etc. then they meet. If the older person isnt' arrested before the meeting, they sometimes have sex and everything blows up.

    Despite shows like "Catch a Predator", 13-15 year old girls who have casual sex with 40 year olds they've talked to for a few hours online don't show up in news articles or in victimization reports-I'm betting they're rare to the point of extinction. More importantly, I SERIOUSLY doubt that 13-15 year olds are inviting strangers they've never talked to over the phone or seen via web cam to their homes for sex. Even the dumbest teen girls seem to have some ability to read body language and facial expressions via video and/or hear tone, inflection over audio. I don't think they're inviting total strangers to their house.

    BUT, this is what we've been led to believe. We've been told there's a problem based solely on the existence of demand. We know there's no shortage of adult men willing to engage in casual sex with 13 year old girls, but we haven't been shown that there's even 1 girl willing to reciprocate for every 1000 guys.

    Everybody goes nuts over this manufactured problem and take attention away from real victimization-that is young people being sexually abused against their will and without their consent. Real abuse is ignored in favor of virtually non-existent abuse.
    Even worse is the fact that any teen girls meeting men online for sex is going of her own free will, whether her consent is informed or not is another issue. It seem that she would bear at least 40% of the blame for anything that happens.

    The persons most likely to sexually abuse young people are the same people being constantly implored to monitor their teens every move-parents, step parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, teachers, priests, coaches, neighbors. Strange guy on the internet is somewhere above that guy that works the 7-11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays between noon and 5pm.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?