Beyond VoIP TMC

My Son is 91

August 8, 2006

Enterprising young teens (including my own son) eager to join in the festivities, have easily found a gaping loophole in the site's security measures: Although kids under 14 are "not allowed" to publish profiles, it seems that all an enterprising youngster needs to do in order to circumvent this restriction is to enter his age as something north of that demarcation point.

As a result, there are more than 3,000 91 year-old kids that have set up house on Myspace. And lord knows how many kids have registered under other inflated ages! Clearly, something needs to be done to correct this completely inadequate security arrangement. In my opinion, all children should be required to register on Myspace and other social networking sites only with the implicit consent of their parents or authorized adult guardian -- in an arrangement somewhat akin to co-signing for membership.

I know this position might be considered extreme by some, but I've heard my share of some fairly unsettling stories and ancedotes about unsavory characters trolling the waters of Myspace sending all kinds of inappropriate messages and photos to underage kids that managed to sneak under the rope and aren't old enough to know how to handle it (or savvy enough to know how to protect themselves online, such as making their profile private rather than public and therefore accessible by anyone trolling the site, or omitting all manner of personally identifiable information.)

As a concerned parent, I'm not interested in preventing my son from discovering the wonders of the Web, but I am keenly interested in making sure he is safe and sound when he is online.

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