MySpace. A place for friends, ideal for musicians, a good distraction from doing real work. Is it also “a happy hunting ground for child predators”?
According to Republican Congressman Michael G. Fitzpatrick it is, which is why he introduced a bill into Congress this week in the hopes of prohibiting anyone under 18 from accessing MySpace and Facebook on public school or library computers, according to MTV News.
The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) is Fitzpatrick’s suggested way to “protect children from the Internet,” and would keep the under-18 set from accessing chat rooms and several other online forums. The bill would also require the Federal Trade Commission to maintain a website for parents and teachers that lets them know which social networking sites — sites that are commercially operated and allow users to create pages or profiles with information about themselves and are available to other users while allowing for communication with those users — are potentially dangerous.
Fitzpatrick’s proposed bill would prohibit “access by minors without parental authorization to a commercial social networking Web site or chat room through which minors may easily access or be presented with obscene or indecent material; may easily be subject to unlawful sexual advances, unlawful requests for sexual favors, or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults; may easily access other material that is harmful to minors.”
Still, there are some who have their reservations about the bill. Danah Boyd, a University of California-Berkeley grad student studying social networking sites told MTV News she feels that there’s too much fear in areas where teens can’t just “go and hang out. Of course there are bad situations. But … I can tell you a number of kids who have been molested in school by teachers. Does that mean we don’t send kids to school?”
Do you think Congress should be able to determine where and when you can access your MySpace or Facebook pages? Sound off on SPIN.com’s forums.
Get SPIN.com headlines for FREE on your mobile phone! Just text SPIN to 68423 to sign up. It’s one message per day, Monday thru Friday, bringing you all the news that rocks, minus the carpal tunnel.