MySpace not as bad as many make it out to be

Justin Satzman

I have heard a lot on the news about MySpace and how bad it is for the nation. People have said the website allows sexual predators to find easy prey without having to leave the comforts of their own home, or that it allows people under the age of 18 to display nudity without any regulations.

According to MySpace, the site takes down all the profiles that show inappropriate displays and even has helped authorities find those people that may be sexual predators.

But this outcry is really just an attempt by educators and parents to control the people who use MySpace. A lot of educators hate the idea of now knowing what students are doing when they are not at school. They feel they have lost control of the students and feel they need to get it back.

With parents, it is obvious. Some parents do not want to deal with their kids’ emotions and basically prohibit them from displaying them.

MySpace is a place for people to vent, meet people and stay in touch. Or as some of my friends say: It is the reason for not doing homework.

Parents had this complaint a couple of years ago when AIM and AOL chat rooms became popular. Parents and educators warned that if a child was on these websites, their lives were in danger. Remember this nonsense? I sure do, and it still makes me laugh when I hear it.

There have been stories recently that involved MySpace and crimes. Recently, a girl was raped by someone she met through MySpace. And, of course, the website was to blame and not the person who committed the crime.

It was not the website that made the man rape her, and it was not the website that told the girl to meet with the guy. But yet when the blame game started, it was MySpace that took the fall.

MySpace has taken so much heat that some schools have banned their students from being able to access the site from their campuses. Some schools have even banned its students from having a MySpace profile all together.

Now I would agree that high school students do not need to be looking at MySpace at school when they are supposed to be studying or researching, but to ban a student from having a profile is ridiculous.

It should not be up to the school to decide what is appropriate for students to do when they are not at school. Forgive me if I am wrong, but that is the parents’ job, is it not?

But to restrict a student’s freedom of speech to that extreme is frightening and all they have to do use is the “s” word. I am not thinking of the one that comes to mind immediately, the “s” word I am speaking of is security.

I am so tired of that word. Anyone can do anything if they say that word. If President Bush wants to go around the Constitution of the United States and spy on people without a court order, all he has to say is security. If a principal with no knowledge of reality, is nervous that kids are expressing themselves on a website and wants to ban it, all he has to say is “safety.”

I miss that other word, reasonibility. The parents are responsible for staying informed with their children and if necessary, monitoring their internet usage. The child is responsible for what they write on the website.

MySpace does have a lot of good to it. I have stayed in touch with friends who do not live in California.

I have met great people because of MySpace and even know people who have met their significant other because of the website. So how is it a bad thing?

Because very few people were not careful or had criminal activity planned, MySpace is seen as a bad thing by some.

Let’s look at percentages: MySpace has more than 50 million people who are members, while I have heard of less than 100 people have been physically harmed from using the site. I am not a math major, but I know odds are not that bad at all.

Justin Satzman can be reached at sports_sundial@csun.edu