Online Social Networking and Sex Offenders

February 6th, 2009 at 12:00 am

my space

The news of MySpace recently deleting the accounts of over 90,000 known sex offenders may really come as a shock for many people. The said clean up was due to the pressure put up by North Carolina and Connecticut Attorney Generals Roy Cooper and Richard Cooper to make social networking websites safer for kids. And the number is said to be more than double of what officials at MySpace previously estimated.

Online social networking has become quite a popular pastime for many people going online, especially for the younger set. It has become the primary means of communicating with friends and meeting new people over the Internet. The convenience it offers may also be a curse that may lead exploitation and abuse.

This is the case that most concerned parents and organizations are trying to bring out against the various social networking sites out there. Are there certain safeguards on hand that will be able to protect kids from sex offenders online? Are these sites providing effective privacy and security measures to ensure a higher level of safety against possible forms of exploitation? With what MySpace have recently shown, it seems that most online social networking sites may be doing enough, unless they are being pressured.

Not to downplay what MySpace has done, the popular website certainly did a great job in rooting out those sex offenders and revoking their accounts. It shows that they are doing what they can in order to keep their online social network as safe as they can for their over 150 million members. But what about the other social networking sites?

Many people have become concerned that many sex offenders that were removed from MySpace may find their way over to other social networking sites and continue what they have done previously. And as what a report from TechCrunch also recently revealed, thousands of those sex offenders booted out of MySpace may have found their way into Facebook.

It seems that these sex offenders may just be jumping from one social networking site to another to continue doing their nasty deeds to unsuspecting members, presumably a lot of them just kids. This shows that trying to prevent sex offenders from getting into social networking sites may take more than just one website doing what it can to make their own members safe.

A concerted effort among the different social networking sites as well as the law enforcement agencies may be needed in order to effectively root out the problem. How this can be done, considering that social networks are in competition with each other, still remains to be seen.