If you want to know what the real threat to kids is at MySpace, read today’s piece in the New York Times and remember that predators aren’t always interested in sex:
To expand ad sales, especially to big brands, Mr. Levinsohn plans to supplement the MySpace staff with a second sales force linked to the Fox TV sales department. He wants to expand one of Mr. DeWolfe’s advertising ideas—turning advertisers into members of the MySpace community, with their own profiles, like the teenagers’—so that the young people who often spend hours each day on MySpace can become “friends” with movies, cellphone companies, and even deodorants. Young people can link to the profiles set up by these goods and services, as they would to real friends, and these commercial “friends” can even send them messages—ads really, but of a whole new kind.
Even worse is that there is a good chance it will work. One college student quoted in the article is trusting MySpace to get a feel for potential dates.
While she does not use the site to meet people, it has become a part of the dating ritual. “When you meet someone, the question is not ‘What’s your number?’ she said. It’s ‘What’s your MySpace?’” By checking out a guy’s profile, she said, “you can actually get a feeling for who they are.”
Especially if they have Old Spice in their profiles, right?
Once again, I’m struck by how much educating needs to be done here. Too bad the educators in the districts that we’ve been talking about lately won’t be getting the Times article any time soon…
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