With all the horror stories hitting the headlines about online fears, crimes, predators, and even rape leading to murder one thing has become very clear: Parents need to understand their children's lives more than ever. That means they need to be online and in my opinion that means MySpace. (Though the principle is still true if applied to facebook or any other networking community alternative.)
Parent's in California are presently trying to deal with an online pedophile Jack McClellan who takes perverse delight in posting pictures of young girls on his web-site and then giving out free instruction to other pedophiles as to how they could seduce children just like those girls into doing illegal and perverse things.
The problem is that parents are in large part fighting the battle the wrong way.
Because they fear for their daughters' safety parents are suing the man in the California court system. They are wasting major financial resources attempting to squelch a man's voice. He claims that since he has not done any of the things he is telling others to do - that he has not violated the laws and therefore is free from prosecution. To date the courts have sided with the perv.
But parents are making a much bigger mistake in their day to day lives with their children.
For generations the shouts of "where you going, who are you going to be with, and what time will you be home" rang from the swinging screen doors and front porches of America. Now the same questions need to be asked when the children are in their bedrooms with door shut as much if not more so than when they head out for the night.
In the last month the Governor of Connecticut attempted to make a federal case of the fact that MySpace recently conducted a sweep of its membership and found 29,000 convicted sex offenders on their rolls. The Governor demanded that new technologies be invented so as to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. 29,000 is an astonishing number, particularly out of context. That 29,000 was four times higher than what MySpace had previously reported, but still nearly statistically insignificant when you understand that MySpace has 197,000,000 registered users.
For comparison go to FamilyWatchDog and input your own zip code. You will most likely be shocked at the number of sex offenders living within mere blocks. In input my home address and came up with 145 offenders within five miles. From our broadcast studios in the Empire State building there were over 1500, many just steps away.