With so many horror stories about predators lurking on My Space, a lawsuit against it was only a matter of time. Now, as this article, My Space Hit With Online Predator Suits (SFGate.com 1/18/07), four families have sued MySpace, alleging negligence in monitoring the site and negligent misrepresentation about security. The families claim that negligence by MySpace resulted in sexual abuse of their underaged daughters by adults whom they met on the site.
According to the article, MySpace has attempted to increase educational efforts about the dangers of the site and has partnered with law enforcement. In addition, the company has placed restrictions on the ability of adults to contact younger users and developed technology to let parents monitor their children's activity. But according to this statement by Connecticut States Attorney, on behalf of 33 State Attorneys General, the software isn't adequate to protect children -- and if MySpace doesn't increase safety at the site, other options, including legal action, will be considered.
Being a lawyer, naturally, I wish there were a nice, clean legal solution to this problem. But it's not so simple, because neither law nor technology can replace parenting. And thus, I side with this opinion by Anastasia Goodstein, in her column at The Huffington Post, Why Can't Technology Replace Parenting? The conclusion (with my emphasis):
And while I understand the anger these families have over what may have happened to their daughters, I don't think a lawsuit is going to solve the underlying problem of why these girls decided it was ok to meet a guy in person they had only interacted with online. I'm not anti-filtering for younger kids and teens, just as I support parents who keep the computer in a central location for this same age group. I just believe that technology can't replace talking.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 18, 2007 at 07:21 PM | Permalink
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