The Internet Parent
Sponsored by K9 Web Protection

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What IS Happening on MySpace?

What's the difference between theory and practice? (Read on for the answer...)

A new book is out, called "MySpace Unraveled: A Parent’s Guide to Teen Social Networking". Written by CBS News technology analyst Larry Magrid, and editor Anne Collier, it comes with a good pedigree. And no doubt is worth the read. I haven’t read it yet, but I caught an excerpt published at on September 7th.

The article/excerpt illustrates some very important concepts that adults need to understand about MySpace. It’s a place of identity exploration, community, fun, and typical teenage hijinks. All true, and all, realistically, an inescapable part of the teenage experience.

And it’s more than that - it’s a training ground for kids who are growing up in a world where social networking will be a fundamental part of their lives.

The article goes on to cite the necessity for parents to examine MySpace from a kid’s perspective. I heartily agree. Until you get it into your head just what it is your child is doing and feeling and getting from their MySpace experience, you are doomed to fail in grappling with the deeper issues that lurk there.

Finally, the article talks about MySpace being like a modern version of the malt shop. Kids doing things in front of kids, oblivious to the outside world. “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, offer the authors. They say MySpace is “today’s fear of choice”, comparing it to rock-n-roll of the 50’s, pot-smoking in the 60’s, etc. “Today’s young people will survive this new ‘threat’”, say the authors.

Of course they will.

But all the theory of how social networking is a fundamental part of their future, and how identity experimentation is fundamental to their development, and how kids will always find ways to express themselves in ways that make their parents blush…All that must be contrasted with a reality check.

Within the same week, I found the following articles:

Principal Blames MySpace for Fights
ANNAPOLIS, MD -- September 12 -- Taunting on a popular teen Web site fueled the spate of violence at Annapolis High last week that put nearly 20 students in handcuffs, the school's principal said last night.

Donald Lilley told the school Parent-Teacher-Student Organization that insults flowed through social networking site over the summer and fanned tensions that spilled into the school from three public housing projects.
Those tensions turned into violence when students from the Robinwood, Newtowne 20 and Annapolis Gardens neighborhoods returned to class two weeks ago.

CHS Teens Charged with Beating Found on Remain in Custody
BAKERSFIELD, CA -- September 13 -- Five teens remain in Juvenile Hall on charges they beat a Centennial High School student, videotaped the attack, and then published it on the Internet site
The five teens were arrested once detectives obtained the videotape of them beating another teen girl.

Deputy District Attorney Cindy Norris said the assault on is severe.
“In my opinion,” Norris said, “it’s one of the worst assaults I’ve ever seen on videotape.”

Police: MySpace Fight Involved 150 People
VIRGIL TOWNSHIP, IL -- September 6 -- They logged on looking for a party, but they got a fight.
Police are investigating Wednesday a weekend brawl in Virgil Township some say was set up through It involved as many as 150 people.

Warning for Anyone Using
GRAPEVINE, TX – September 14 -- A warning tonight for parents. Why it's important to know what your children are up to on the internet….

Police in Grapevine, Texas are searching for a man who reportedly tried to lure a teenager out of her home this past weekend. They believe her page on, loaded with personal information, may have led the stranger to her home.

Porn and bullying common on MySpace and Bebo, says Which?
LONDON, UK -- September 14 -- Popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo are putting children at risk of online bullying and inadvertently exposing them to pornography and unsuitable advertising, the consumer affairs magazine Which? has warned.

This comes after Computing Which? set up an account pretending to be a 14-year-old and found "numerous examples" of pornography, bullying and unsuitable advertising on the site, which allows users to create their own web pages, chat to friends and share photographs.

The adult researcher who set up a MySpace account as a teenager was able to do so without proving age or identity. The sites claim to monitor uploaded images, but researchers came across pornographic photographs on both "within minutes".

Study shows too much 'sex' on
FRESNO, CA – September 15
A new study reveals the ‘sexier’ and more dangerous side of
A Fresno State professor studied 700 web pages to discover more than half of users surveyed had some kind of sexual content on their individual pages.

In fact, she says the worst content was found on the younger users sites. She found sexual material on 71% of pages belonging to 14 and 15 year olds.

So, what’s happening on MySpace? What are YOUR kids doing? And who are they being influenced by?

The authors of "MySpace Unraveled" give a nod to proper parenting and the reality that content on MySpace can live on forever. But unless the rest of the book steps down from the theoretical benefits of MySpace, and wrestles with its gritty reality, I’m afraid it all comes down to:

What’s the difference between theory and practice? Of course. “In theory, there’s NO difference.”

We have to live with “practice”. And so do our kids.


  • Thank you for this post and for the blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 21, 2006 9:00 AM  

  • somehow, you avoid the question: why does your program block myspace? you give plenty of excuses for why myspace is bad, but why is it blocked? your program doesn't even allow myspace to be disputed as a blocked website. quit being retards, allow your program to do what it is supposed to do, but allow certain categories and websites (ex. to be disputed. as Carlos Mencia would say, Dee Dee Dee!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 06, 2006 9:03 PM  

  • Actually, you can always override any setting within K9. Just add to the "always allowed" list, or allow the category "Adult/Mature content".

    Why is MySpace blocked by default? Because most parents want to keep their kids away from adult content, and content that is unsupervised, and interactions with random adults.

    The "dispute" function within K9 is to enable our customers to bring to our attention sites that have been incorrectly categorized. When we receive queries about sites we've reviewed many times, we send back a message that says, in effect, "No, we're pretty sure about this one..." But the capability exists within K9 for YOU to allow it. If you're the administrator. K9 puts the power in the hands of the customer.

    Thanks for your comment. I hope I've cleared up a misunderstanding.

    By Blogger John Carosella, at November 29, 2006 5:58 PM  

  • jesus, im thirteen, and i really really wanna know how to get onto bebo if i have K9 Web Protection on my computer, my piece of shit mother put it on because she thought i add random people and put dirty photos on.. BECAUSE MY TEACHER TOLD HER SO!!!!!! parents should just frikkin leave their children alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 10, 2007 12:26 AM  

  • DIS WACK ASS PI3C3 OF SHiT WeB bLOcker Is Da WOrst EVa!!!!! Ma dUmB ASS PaRentZ PuT PI3C3 oF SHIt WEb blocker oN Our COUmputer ThAnkz A FuCkin Lot!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 16, 2008 8:31 AM  

  • Obviously if you think its a peice of shit it is because of you being the victim/child in the household that was Blocked. As a 21 yearold parent and long time electronics fan, I beleive this is a Very safe, User friendly, Program that provides protection to my kids AND my computer. Alot of my friends come over and take advantage of my comp. and I end up fighting off virus's. It's not a big concern to me anymore considering that alot of the sites that they were picked up from are now blocked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 17, 2008 8:13 PM  

  • erhhh... surprisingly enough, my parents blocked some of my favourite sites too, with this program. and ever since it's been blocked, i sorta got better in my school work... except everyone's saying that i'm missing out and now my social life is almost dead. i'm twelve, and well.. you know how it is. but i guess it has its ups and downs, although i miss bebo alot :(

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 03, 2008 1:05 AM  

  • Thanks for your comment. K9 (we hope) is like a "guide and protector" (hence the dog) that tries to keep you and your computer from straying into areas that are not in your best interest. We at Blue Coat don't know what's right or wrong for you -- that's up to parents. But K9 gives parents a chance to make that determination in a reasonably reliable way.

    Our job is not to block stuff -- it's to give parents a reliable way to block stuff, and a consistent way to recognize the kind of stuff they want to block.

    Sometimes we do a great job, and parents love us. Sometimes we're not perfect and we get challenged by the way the Internet changes or the choices we make in how to categorize. We try to adjust.

    On a very good day (like today), some young person realizes that K9 has value too, and decides to share with us.

    Believe it or not, we are very grateful for your positive feedback. It's hard to always hear negative comments from kids.

    So...thanks. We hope you get to still have fun, and can gradually find your way out into the world of the Internet at a pace that works for you and your folks.

    By Blogger John Carosella, at December 03, 2008 9:06 AM  

  • wow your shit i hate your guts, i just wrote a very long winded 150 word response which was very well balanced but your friggin crap website had an error n lost it...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 04, 2009 3:12 PM  

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