Banning access to myspace for minors?

There’s a proposed bill that would block access to “Social networking sites” like myspace and Friendster for minors. The main concern with the social networking sites is that they have profile information on their members, in many cases under the age of 18 and the children then can be targetted by child predators. One of the problems is that “social networking” sites are loosely defined and could be interpreted quite widely.

I thought there were laws on the books limiting the kind of information sites could collect from those under the age of 18. Of course, the real issue here is more the information disclosed in the profiles and pages that people create on Myspace… Maybe we need to look towards limiting the details of that instead of a blanket ban of access. That “ban of access” is something that the parents should be involved in rather than the Federal Govt. (in my opinion…) I know Myspace has been in the news quite a bit with a number of bad stories. I do remember one tragedy that was averted when a reader in North Carolina stumbled across a students threats to make “another Columbine” and contacted authorities. If the student had been banned from using a social networking site, would the plot have been averted? I know, one example doesn’t make everything worthwhile.

Certainly more should be done to protect children from child predators, I am just not convinced that a complete (governmental) ban access to a certain class of website is the correct answer. I’m not certain how that would work. Require signups to give their birthdate? And if they lie? Is Myspace held responsible for someone breaking the rules?

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