[Air-l] Deleting Online Predators Act, MySpace and a plea for help

Alex Halavais halavais at gmail.com
Thu Jun 1 16:02:27 PDT 2006

> A research-oriented approach might instead emphasize quantification of
> online predation (which has been insanely exaggerated), comparisons to other
> media (predation isn't unique to online sites),

More power to you. I guess the reason I wouldn't go this way is that I
suspect that online predation--of some form--isn't that exaggerated.
Much of that suspicion comes of talking to undergraduates and taking
informal polls of my classes (an admittedly biased sample).

And I'm not sure that showing that "only" 5% or 10% of young people
are propositioned for sex online would have any significant effect on
the debate. It's important that parents understand that children can
be the target of sexual predators on the internet and on the
playground, and be provided with the tools to prepare their children.

Again, I also suspect that predation is really just a useful facade
for parents feeling unprepared to see their teenage children and
students frankly discussing sex in a public forum. Even if you show
that MySpace & Facebook aren't a magnet for child molesters, good luck
showing that they are not sexually charged.

> and the impossiblity of
> enforcement (what online *isn't* arguably a "social networking service"?)

I think you mean the power that the law puts in the hands of
administrators to decide what is acceptable--in other words, that it
is overbroad. People said that CIPA was unenforceable. Just look over
the ALA's resistance to the law. But that hasn't stopped it from being
rolled out.

- Alex

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// Alexander C. Halavais
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