MySpace and other social networking sites such as Facebook.com present a new way of communicating with others. MySpace’s recent media publicity has been primarily negative. However, MySpace offers a way for students to stay connected and showcase their individuality and interests.
MySpace receives a lot of negative news coverage regarding minors and how they use the site. Young girls in particular have been the focus of parents”, teachers” and politicians” concerns. A study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited children states, one in seven young people ages 10 to 17 acknowledged receiving an online sexual solicitation in 2005.
MySpace does contain a setting that restricts a MySpace profile from being seen by the public. If someone creates a profile on MySpace and states that she is 14 years old or under, the site automatically makes that profile private.
MySpace may be just another site for would-be predators, but it has now become a prime target for law enforcement. Internet pedophiles will be prevalent on the web regardless of MySpace or any other social networking site. Contrary to popular belief, MySpace is supervised very closely. Everyday MySpace technical administrators remove thousands of underage profiles and screen content to prevent offensive material. However, MySpace does not remove any promiscuous or risqué file content.
Law enforcement and prospective employers often search MySpace to find information about individuals. Over the last year, MySpace content obtained by law enforcement has thwarted school shootings and potential assaults.
It is not advisable to post on MySpace any pictures you wouldn’t feel comfortable with everyone in the world seeing. Commonly teens glamorize their alcohol and drug use in photos on their profiles.
Even after the photos have been removed, sites like MySpace and Photo Bucket generally do not protect their users’ content. Long after you use MySpace for any reason, your photos could be floating around the Internet for all to see.
MySpace is replacing other means of communication at a growing rate. In the article “Decoding MySpace,” Michelle Andrews says, “The site currently has more that 100 million profiles, with 230,000 new members signing up everyday.” College students are now using MySpace more each day in place of email to keep in touch with each other.
With the invention of handheld computers, and with the addition of the internet on cell phones, people can now access social networking sites, like MySpace, from anywhere in the world. Once logged in, the user can stay logged in, similar to an instant messenger program. Upon receiving a message, the user is notified through some type of alert.
Corporations have also caught on to MySpace’s growing popularity and have started advertising through social networking sites. Entertainment marketers are paying top dollars to promote new TV shows and movies by changing the skin of the page to reflect their promotion.
New movies and shows even have their own profiles. Usually, the profile will offer some type of benefit to MySpace users if they add the profile to their “friends” list and showcase the profile as one of their “Top Friends.”
People on MySpace communicate with coworkers, classmates, and friends. Many of the MySpace users say that they use MySpace to keep in touch with lost friends or to get in touch with current friends. With the search engine within MySpace, users can search for and locate people they thought they would never see or hear from again.
For high school and college students, MySpace offers a way to display one’s interests, experiences, and opinions to anyone who is interested. Users can post pictures, comments, bulletins and change their personal information to reflect themselves.
In previous semesters at Yuba College, MySpace usage was so frequent that it slowed down a college server until it crashed. The problem with MySpace is that it contains many streaming video and audio files that slow down the network.
MySpace is once again accessible from Yuba and Woodland College computers and will remain so as long as the network does not experience problems.
In the near future the district’s information technology staff plans to increase the bandwidth and create a separate network solely for students, according to Karen Trimble of the District’s Information Technology department. Meanwhile, students may have to limit the time they are logged on to My Space out of respect for other students.