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myspace_childsafe.jpgI’m interviewed today in Jennifer McClure’s story in MacNewsWorld about MySpace’s plans to combat sexual predators.
They’re partnering with a technology company to cross-reference a database of sex offenders and ban them from the site. Of course, this move is about the holy dollar bill, and is intended to make the site more attractive to advertisers, who’ve shied away from MySpace et al because of this issue.
But who made MySpace the police? What if the database isn’t up to date. What if someone’s name ends up on it wrongly? How would they know? How would they get their name off the list? What damage would be done in the interim?
And MySpace wants to take it a step further and get legislators to work with them.
I think MySpace et al need to
- do a rigorous education campaign for kids in their communities to warn then about sexual predators;
- take steps to protect kids’ identities and to limit direct contact between members.
- move “Safety Tips” from a 6 point hyperlink at the bottom of the home page to a prominent spot at the top of every page.
- include safety information in a tour of the site that all new members must take before they can set up their page
But I don’t think MySpace should become the police, the FBI, or the moral regulators of the world. Nor should they take over for kids’ parents, who need to monitor what their children do online.
It is, of course, a very sensitive issue. What steps do you think sites like MySpace should take to keep kids safe?