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Old 06-22-2006, 05:09 AM   #41 (permalink)
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I don't want to address anyone's specific comments. I do want to address the general and very common habit of blaming parents for things. Even though it feels good to say it, it doesn't accomplish anything.

What should we do - force potential parents to get a license to have a child? I'm all for that but it's not going to happen. Or should we educate people on how to be parents? We are barely able to teach a minority of children how to read and write and behave - with 12 years of public education.

It has been a commonplace to blame our parents for our problems. But it may be nothing more than needing a scapegoat...

As a pragmatist, I don't see a reason to say something unless it has a practical purpose and/or leads to a practical solution.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:12 AM   #42 (permalink)
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So suing a company which has done nothing wrong other than provide a service that millions of people enjoy and use responsibly because a few people out there are too careless/stupid/etc. to protect themselves is a practical solution to the problem?

I don't see why people who use things that carry a potential risk get to say, "Hey, it's not my fault, the person who created the product didn't do enough to protect me" She chose to use MySpace. She chose to meet someone she met on myspace. She got duped and she got raped. Not to say it isn't a horrible thing to have happen to someone, but I fail at all to see either how MySpace could do anything to prevent it from happening (short of requiring credit cards to confirm age, which most high schoolers-a major target audience for them-don't have anyway) or why she shouldn't be held accountable for the fact that she made bad decisions that had bad consequences. There's one person against whom any legal action is appropriate, and that's the rapist.

If they win, we can safely say that personal responsibility has left the building.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:50 AM   #43 (permalink)
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I guess the attitude of "it takes a village" has some validity, but I suspect good or bad parenting has more impact on a child's development. I have always thought that if you take a group of top students and put them in a bad school/area and take a group of underacheivers and put them in a good school/area that the top students would still be on top. Mostly because of the encouragement they get at home.

Just because blaming parents has no practical solution does not mean we shouldn't at least recognize the problem. I don't think we can expect the "village" to replace good parenting. Blaming parents may be a scapegoat but promoting good parenting may also be the best way to get to a practical solution and at least accomplishes recognizing the problem.

This parent and her lawyer, by sueing MySpace, appear to be taking the "blame the village" approach but I suspect are really just using the system to try and get rich quick. The two teenagers could have met anywhere and MySpace is not the problem here.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
No matter how much they try, parents are losing any ability to influence or control their kids because of titanic external forces and it's hardly their fault. Blaming parents for the ills of this or any society is too easy an answer. It sounds good but it doesn't change, answer, or solve anything.
If the parents supervised the use of the internet, this wouldn't happen.

If they can't supervise the use of the internet, then guess what, the kid doesn't get to play on the internet all day. Put the computer in a central location, not in their bedroom, and educate the kid BEFORE they log on as to the dangers of being online- i.e., do not give out any personal info.

If this were done, these things would not happen with anywhere near the frequency that they do. The internet for a 14 year old is not a right, it's a priviledge.

So, yes, parental control would actually solve this problem. Absolutely. And if the parent is feeling SO overwhelmed by all this technology, then take the internet away completely except for use as reference for school. And you do this by supervising, using parental control software to restrict access to sites other than those they need for school work, and actually giving a shit enough to take the time to raise your kid, rather than plopping them in front of the TV or computer and letting the internet raise them.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:53 AM   #45 (permalink)
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There is nothing I can say on this topic that hasn't been said already but I would just like to second a comment made earlier. Someone said that myspace should sue the mother. I think if this brings any negative conotation towards myspace because the site was being sued as a scapegoat, then yeah, I hope myspaces sues too. The girl was stupid, but I feel bad for her.
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:26 AM   #46 (permalink)
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As far as the parental influence vs. external commercial influence goes, I find it can boil down to this (as I can only use my own scenario as evidence);
Parental influence comes long before any outside forces. If used in such a way as to both give a child choices but make him/her understand those choices have consequences, the child's decisions later on become more thought out.
My kids and I discussed this very subject this week-I brought it up to them(they are 14). Both agreed that this girl was ignorant in her choice to give out the info she did and both asked "Where was her mother??"
Kids are influenced by forces all around them-everything is a temptation as they try to find their place in the world. Not being a guiding force at a time when a parent can be (in toddler stage, etc), is just asking for something like this to happen down the line. Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm and, not to toot my own horn, but kids like mine are the exception. I shake my head too often at the irony of it.
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:31 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Analog,
I understand and empathize with your passion regarding this point.

As you know, I prefer to assign responsibility for destroying the individual mind to multi-billion dollar coercive thought replacement campaigns. There really is very little conscious decisionmaking ability left intact in any of us.

*

Alas, because what you are calling for will never ever come to pass I suggest it's more appropriate to search for a practical solution that has at least some small possibility of actually happening.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:01 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Let's be realistic, here - MySpace is a pretty unassuming site, and unless there was a parent sitting over the child's shoulder the entire time, reading every conversation/emali/forum post/IM that their kid gets, supervision is irrelevant. Some kids are just stupid, and you have to be pretty stupid to meet an internet stranger in an isolated place alone.
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Old 06-24-2006, 10:26 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hulk
Let's be realistic, here - MySpace is a pretty unassuming site, and unless there was a parent sitting over the child's shoulder the entire time, reading every conversation/emali/forum post/IM that their kid gets, supervision is irrelevant. Some kids are just stupid, and you have to be pretty stupid to meet an internet stranger in an isolated place alone.
Stupidity shouldn't be rewarded, though.

Still, I wonder what happened to the guy who did the actual raping...
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:19 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
A great part - and for me, it is the very greatest part - of what is wrong with parents, children, and the world these days has nothing at all to do with parents.

Kids are influenced - for me they are most influenced - by perverse social pressure and societal programming. This is the combined mind-numbing power of billions of dollars of corporate research into coersion - rendering all of us more powerless - in all situations - than we are at all comfortable in admitting. It is evident to me that parental influence is rendered nearly nil in the face of the unfathomable power of technology and mass media.

No matter how much they try, parents are losing any ability to influence or control their kids because of titanic external forces and it's hardly their fault. Blaming parents for the ills of this or any society is too easy an answer. It sounds good but it doesn't change, answer, or solve anything.
In my opinion the easiest escape route is to blame the media, despite the fact that all people are born with a mind of their own and pretty much all of them have parents who are a far more direct influence than the media should be. And if the media is indeed the biggest influence on a child's life and actions, then whose fault is that?

People need to start taking responsibility for themselves, whether it is for their own actions or the actions of the minor who is entrusted in their guardianship. This was a problem that could easily have been averted by the parents had they been motivated enough to do so.
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:23 AM   #51 (permalink)
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What a piece of work is man.

hulk: You're right, Myspace is rather innocuous. If the entire situation played out online and culminated in verbal abuse or something of that nature, I could see your point. It's not inconceivable for parents to miss such interactions, although it would still be rather inattentive of them.

That's not the case. Their daughter left their home with a strange young man. Granted I don't have any children, let alone fourteen year olds, but I remember what it was like when I was fourteen myself and I can tell you what it will be like for mine should the day ever come. I did not under any circumstances leave the house without my parents A) knowing exactly where I was and B) having a contact number should they need it. Granted, this predated the widespread use of cell phones, but even if they were widely available I doubt I would've had one.

Let's face facts here: teenagers are stupid. Sound harsh? You're a teenager? Sorry, it's still true. Teenagers in general and young teenagers specifically have yet to learn important lessons regarding common sense. This is part of what leads to the maxim among those beyond the teenage years that they "think they're invincible;" it's very easy to recognize that it-won't-happen-to-me attitude in others.

That isn't to say that this phenomenon is specific to teenagers. Look at the morons who insist on riding their bikes without helmets. I think one of them ends up decorating the asphalt with his brains daily to hear the media tell it, yet there's still folks out there who won't bother with a brain bucket. So, no, it's not teenagers exclusively. However, it is a much more common phenomenon in teens than it is in the adult population.

That's exactly what was at work in this case. I'd be very surprised to hear that this girl wasn't aware of the idea of sexual predators using the internet - it's almost impossible to avoid. However, she assumed that the predators would prey on others. It could never possibly happen to her, right?

And it did.

So now mum is thinking that Myspace ought to foot the bill. Reality is, mum should've realized that her daughter, as a fourteen year old girl, is prone to do stupid things and should've kept a closer eye on her in the first place. But then, I suppose, there's no profit to be made in admitting one's own error.

Y'know, at first I thought I'd be watching this case closely, but I find myself feeling too jaded to care what the outcome is. The whole thing stinks of greed and selfishness and wrongness, from start to finish. I think the only party I wouldn't lay any guilt on is, ironically, the one being sued; Myspace is a purveyor of a commercial service and never, so far as I know, misrepresented that service as some sort of digital childcare. That mum mistook it for such really isn't their fault.
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