New York Times - The social network will let parents submit the e-mail addresses of their children, so the company can prevent anyone from using that address to set up a profile. It will also set the profiles of all 16 and 17-year-olds to private, so only their established online friends can visit their pages – essentially creating a “closed” section for users under age 18.
In theory, if I want to protect my child, I would enter his e-mail address into the MySpace system thereby preventing a user profile from being created. The problem is that today’s children are not stupid! They are well aware that they can create a free e-mail account on Yahoo, Hotmail, and many other sites. They’re certainly not going to tell their parents the e-mail address they’re actually using.
This reminds me of the age verification checks on adult web sites. The first page asks you if you are 18 years or older. It informs you that if you are not, you should leave. If you are 18, please click here to continue. Let’s face it, most young, adolescent teenagers are going to click the consent button and view the pornography.
I personally don’t think this program will amount to much as it is currently proposed. There are just too many ways in which the system can be circumvented. That being said though, I am happy to see that people recognize that there is indeed a problem that needs to be corrected.
It’s becoming an all to disturbing fact to watch the news and hear about some young child being molested by a sexual predator, only to find out they meet online, right under our noses. I know it’s hard to keep track of your children every waking moment, but as parents, we must take the extra time to make our children aware of the clear and present danger that lurks on the Internet. Please take the time to educate your children and help them learn to use good judgement while surfing the web.