January 18 2007

MySpace being sued for…well…no good reason

Interesting article today via the AP about MySpace has been hit with multiple lawsuits from families that had children victimized by sexual predators they met on the website. The families are suing for millions of dollars with a noble cause behind them:

“Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere,” he said.

Ok, you all know me well enough to know I am going to rip on this. The families are suing MySpace because their children met these predators on the MySpace site. Ok….let’s ask a couple of questions…

When the child met the predator, was it somewhere other than their house?

If other than the house, are you suing the location where the child met the predator? They didn’t protect your child.

How did the child get to said location?

If they used public transit, are you suing the municipality that owns the mass transit system they used? They didn’t protect your child.

How did the child connect to the internet?

Probably should sue your internet provider.

The list is endless, but the bottom line is, MySpace has millions of dollars and some “sleazoid lawyers” went to these families and convinced them how they had been done wronged by the big, evil website. Here is what the judges should be pondering:

Were the computers in a common room of the house where the child’s internet usage could be monitored?

Did the parents check their child’s MySpace page? Did they have the page address?

Did they have logging software to check their child’s IM conversations?

This is another example of parents wanting to take NO responsibility in the raising of their children. Nothing that is ever their fault, somehow a website, or a company, or society or any number of things “failed them”. Never mind the parents should be actively involved in their kids lives, it just doesn’t happen any more!

Here are some of the examples from these cases.

Last June, the mother of a 14-year-old who says she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old user sued MySpace and News Corp., seeking $30 million in damages. That lawsuit, pending in a Texas state court, claims the 19-year-old lied about being a senior in high school to gain her trust and phone number.

The lawyers who filed the latest lawsuits said the plaintiffs include a 15-year-old girl from Texas who was lured to a meeting, drugged and assaulted in 2006 by an adult MySpace user, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

Gee…lies were involved…and luring…where were the parents in all of this? Here is a portion of MySpace’s reply to the cases.

But he said Internet safety is a shared responsibility, requiring users to “apply common sense offline safety lessons in their online experiences and engage in open family dialogue.”

WHAT?!? Are they nuts? Talking…with the kids? Are they nuts?!?

Teach your children basic internet safety, keep the computers in a common family area, because, I’m sorry, putting the computer in your child’s room is like inviting hundreds of millions of people in to your child’s bedroom. Somehow I think you are pretty safely guaranteed to get a couple of whack jobs in there. I know…I’m cynical that way.

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