Social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook are very popular around the world with an average of 270 million members aggregate that mostly consist of teenagers and young adults. The members of MySpace and Facebook create personal profiles to keep in contact with friends, to share photos also to share music. MySpace and Facebook have earned millions of dollars however negative publicity since their success has pinpointed the dangers of sexual predators, cyber-bullying and even inappropriate content on their social networks. MySpace and Facebook have increased security measures but the dangers are still inevitable and the members know they enter at their own risk. In 1998, MySpace became an official website used to share and store files however due to lack of interest and suffering from low revenues the site was shut down in 2001. MySpace was revived in July 2003 by Tom Anderson and Chris Dewolfe. The website centered around local musicians that could share their music, post tour dates and share pictures all for free with their personal MySpace homepage. The site was successful at connecting with fans and advertisers took notice (Rosenbush page 1). By 2005, MySpace was bought for 580 million dollars by Rupert Murchoch’s News Corporation. By July 2006, MySpace had approximately 72 million members and was ranked the sixth most popular website in the world with projected revenue of 200 million dollars (Blackwell page 1). Chief Financial Officer of New Corporation, David Devoe, estimates MySpace revenue to reach 500 million for fiscal year 2008. MySpace is so popular that it has generated 4.3 billion hits within a day (Dignan page 1). Facebook was created by Harvard student Mark Zuckerburg. The website was originally created by Harvard students but eventually branched out to other college and high schools. Membership required a valid college or high school email address. Facebook soon began to expand beyond high school and college membership. Now a user with any email address may join. Facebook’s expansion was possible due to a 500 thousand dollar investment from PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Fortune five hundred corporations like Microsoft outbid Google to invest approximately two hundred forty million into Facebook which brings the value to nearly 15 billion dollars (Stone page 1). MySpace and Facebook essentially have the same business model. Registering for an account is quick, easy and fee. They both require a valid email address. As of now, the minimum age to join Facebook is thirteen (PC Magazine Online page 1). The minimum age to join MySpace is fourteen (Freifeld 1). Once an account is created a member has an active profile where they describe themselves in the “about me” section. They may upload pictures of themselves, family or friends. The user may also post his or her age, interest and where he or she attends school which is then linked for their friends or other members to see.
The problem for teenagers and young children on MySpace and Facebook is their naïveté. Not too long ago Dateline did a series where they went undercover to catch online sexual predators in action. Dateline had the police pose as a 13 year-old girl. The girl chatted with the unknown predator and surprisingly the unknown predator responded back and even said “Let’s set up a place and time to meet.” When the predator arrived at the girl’s he was welcomed in. The girl offered the predator a drink then Dateline interrupted and asked the predator why he was there. The predator had been caught trying to solicit sex to a minor. This is an example just one of the dangers of the internet (NBC News 1). The dangers of social networking sites can be overwhelming for parents. NBC reporter Robert Stafford conducted the Dateline story. He did a multi-part report dangers on MySpace. In one report Robert Stafford interviewed Shannon and Margaret. She posted her age as 18 and included her real name, address and where she went to school. Rob...
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