(And a note about the photo below, which was found via google in images, using the search term "pedophile." I found it as it is here, with the caption at this address).
So I read in our local paper on Wednesday that a 14 year-old girl in the US is attempting to sue MySpace for not protecting her from a predator to whom she provided her name, actual address and real phone number and then went on a date with, which in every way implies full consent..
Now I ask you, how does MySpace protect a teenager who is obviously TOO STUPID to read the very large and prominent disclaimers on that site that expressly encourage users to NOT provide their personal information to strangers?
“Hemanshu Nigam, the chief security officer for MySpace.com, said in a written statement: "We take aggressive measures to protect our members. We encourage everyone on the Internet to engage in smart web practices and have open family dialogue about how to apply offline lessons in the online world."
The second question is where are this girl’s parents? Apparently they’re all shocked that something like this could happen. Like What? Like that their daughter’s an idiot who can’t read and shouldn’t be on MySpace unattended?
I hope that the judge who gets this silly case will first quit laughing and second, slap the parents with negligence for allowing their daughter to use MySpace without their due attention.
There is no way that MySpace is in any way liable for this girl's being pursued when she was in complete control of what information she gave out and that she was so stupid that she actually met this stranger knowing nothing of who he really was. Incidentally, although she’s alleging sexual assault, it doesn’t sound that that’s the case….
“Lauren Gelman, associate director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said she does not think MySpace is legally responsible for what happens away from its site.
"If you interact on MySpace, you are safe, but if a 13-year-old or 14-year-old goes out in person and meets someone she doesn't know, that is always an unsafe endeavour," Gelman said. "We need to teach our kids to be wary of strangers."
Ironically, the lawyer for the girl in this case says, “MySpace is more concerned about making money than protecting children online,” which is hilarious considering how much money said lawyer stands to make from this case. They’re suing for 1% of the MySpace’s revenues, about $30M.
Absent from anyone’s pitch is a question about why the parents were not paying attention to what their daughter was doing on line, let alone who she was going to movies with, where she was going and how long she was out. This is a case of colossal stupidity on the part of two parents, and a kid who thought she was getting away with something behind their backs – until it all blew up in her immature face.
What is immensely sad is that this girl has parents and a lawyer who are attempting to reward her for her conduct and there is a young man who is potentially innocent but whose life is about one newspaper article away from being ruined forever, regardless of guilt or innocence.
It is completely unlikely that the rest of the story will ever appear in the media - the part where the case is tossed out, the truth is told and a possibly innocent young man is exhonerated. It is probable, however, that this girl will grow up knowing that her parents are much more intersted in saving face and cashing in via happy suing than teaching their daughter any moral lessons.
They might become rich off this one but they're as morally bankrupt as they come.