Social networking behemoth MySpace is the latest trend gone bad.
Daily Show correspondent Demetri Martin reported on MySpace and interviewed NYU communications professor Siva “Dr. Smallbeard” Vaidhyanathan. Martin’s final analysis:
Upside: Great way to meet people all over the world.
Downside: They’re full of sexual preditors.
Upside: They’re full of sexual prey.
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Newsweek: ‘Predator’s Playground’?: “MySpace and similar sites like Xanga are extremely popular among teens and young adults who post profiles, photos and blogs—often chock-full of revealing personal details for all the world (including predators) to see. ”
Wired News: Scenes From the MySpace Backlash: “In recent weeks newspapers from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Rutland Herald have pressed out stories — often on the front page — with headlines like ‘Online Danger Zone’ and ‘The Trouble With MySpace.’ An NBC Dateline show in January colored MySpace ‘a cyber secret teenagers keep from tech-challenged parents.'”
NY Times: Pirro Attacks a Web Site as a Threat to Youths: “Jeanine F. Pirro, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has begun an attack on MySpace.com, the Internet social network for teenagers and young adults, saying that it represents a threat to child safety.”
Social networking researcher Danah Boyd analyzes why teens use sites like MySpace: Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace:
While youth are influenced by the media’s version of 20somethings, they rarely have an opportunity to engage with them directly. Just as teens are hanging out on MySpace, scenesters, porn divas and creature of the night are using MySpace to gather and socialize in the way that 20somethings do. They see the space as theirs and are not imagining that their acts are consumed by teens; they are certainly not targeted at youth. Of course, there _are_ adults who want to approach teens and MySpace allows them to access youth communities without being visible, much to the chagrin of parents. Likewise, there are teens who seek the attentions of adults, for both positive and problematic reasons.