Saturday, March 08, 2008

Why Would A Parent Allow a Child To Date Someone Who Isn't on MySpace?

A man and three teenagers are facing rape charges after a 16-year-old girl identified her attackers through a page at

According to police, the girl and a female friend used the Internet to arrange to meet the youths Nov. 18. They did, but the girl's friend went home, leaving her alone with the young men in a car.

After giving her a large amount of alcohol, prosecutors say, the young men stopped the car in a dark stretch of road in the Eastgate area of Bellevue and took turns raping her in the back seat of the car.

The young men then took the girl to her home, where the girl's mother learned that her daughter had been assaulted.

Returning to the MySpace page where she'd met the young men, the girl was able to identify two of her attackers, said Officer Greg Grannis, a Bellevue police spokesman. Detectives then used a search warrant to get copies of messages exchanged by the youths about the rape.
To some, the conclusion from this horrific crime is to not allow their children to use MySpace and other social networking sites to protect them. In reality they should make the exact opposite conclusion. These boys were caught only because of their MySpace account. Had the girls just met these boys at some party or club, they would not have been able to track them down. With their MySpace account, the boys lost their anonymity and were easily apprehended.

Now, I would almost go as far as to say that MySpace would put an end to these kind of attacks, as without anonymity, potential perpetrators would know they would get caught and therefore not try these kind of things. But, the type of people who would go through with an attack like this are not the sharpest tools in the shed, and they might not understand this.

Social networking is bringing a close to the age of anonymity on the Internet. Sharing information is more valuable than privacy. No longer will a dog be able to get on the internet without everyone knowing (especially when they fail).

In general the whole idea that the internet is a dangerous place for children is a myth exploited by people like Chris Hansen. David Pogue had a nice write up about this.

The fear of the internet for children runs deep at the moment as even the Girl Scouts aren't allowed to sell cookies on eBay.
"We encourage the use of technology, but not online selling at this time ... Until we have some sort of safety guard to ensure the girls' security, we don't encourage any kind of internet sales," Tompkins says.
That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. Apparently they believe it is perfectly safe for girls to sell cookies by knocking on doors of total strangers, but disclosing an email address over the internet is extremely dangerous.

via Seattle PI

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