Recently, News Corp., the parent company and owner of the popular website MySpace.com, announced that it would take active steps in making the site safer to use. But behind all the controversies and hype circulating around MySpace, the problems run much deeper than what meets the eye.
For those of you who have been living in a cave on Mars for the past couple of years, Myspace.com is a social networking site that allows users to easily and freely post pictures, personal information and blogs about themselves for all the world to see. However, along with its popularity, it has not come without criticisms and concerns.
One of the most common criticisms about the site is the claim that child molesters can easily browse through the pages of children, which can contain racy photographs and coarse language. Anyone with an account can snoop around other people’s pages and become amateur stalkers. They can then contact those members and start unsettling online relationships. Children as young as 14 are allowed to create a MySpace page, but often younger children lie about their age to have one. Users can add strangers they meet online to their list of so-called friends and are then allowed to leave comments on their friends’ pages. This can create dangerous situations for youth. But, it’s also not uncommon to see perverted college students leaving inappropriate comments to their very underage friends.
A real friend is someone with whom you spend time with in person and eventually gain their trust and admiration, so how is it possible for people to claim that they have several hundreds or even thousands of friends? It’s a mystery how they find the time. Someone who sat four seats back from you in seventh grade ceramics class and you barely remember was not your friend, sorry. With all these people coming out of the woodwork requesting to be added as friends, it’s possible that MySpace is just a big popularity contest. People add random people and then leave ridiculous comments like, “Thanks for the add,” which is, by the way, not a comment but a pathetic message. Then people pester other users to comment on their new layouts, which is also sad. All those slideshows, crazy graphics and Kelly Clarkson videos are just annoying people, not to mention crashing computers all across America. Also, commenting about how wasted you were last night at that party is merely, a sad attempt to show signs of a social life outside the Internet. Nobody’s being fooled there. Besides, hardly anybody really cares about those mundane stories anyway.
The MySpace community should be aware that many employers have go-to people and sometimes specialized departments that will research potential new hires to verify what kind of persons they are by the comments, blogs and interests they post.
Recent news stories reported that students have been suspended because the information they leave on MySpace pages, such as threats to other classmates and behavior deemed inappropriate by the school’s administration. Teenagers are throwing up gang signs and smoking marijuana in their pictures. I doubt actual gangsters don’t have a MySpace page though, so it’s silly to flash anything gang-related, to say the least. And many people exploit the idea that they do drugs on their MySpace page. Those people need to know they’re actually being proud of the fact that they aren’t very smart. Then there are those who seem to be proud to be addicted to Myspace, which is even more stupid than senseless people with vulgar pictures.
Seriously now, people who spend more time on MySpace than out in the real world really need to evaluate their own existence. There are so many things that are more relaxing, fun and healthy than sitting in front of a computer screen for hours. It’s no wonder that child obesity is so rampant. MySpace is not only physically dangerous, but is also destroying peoples’ sense of reality.
Recently, I deleted my MySpace, and I constantly have friends asking what happened to me, as if a part of me has died. I tell them that it’s just an overrated website and I don’t need random strangers checking out personal stuff about me. I’d rather be out with real people or doing something more productive. And if you need to talk when I am not around, I have a cell phone. There is no substitution for spending live, quality time with friends, and that’s something no computer will ever take away. Because the greatest gift you will ever give a friend is your own real time.
Giovany Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.