Social Sites: Virtual Playgrounds Or Predatory Hunting Grounds

950 words - 4 pages

Social interaction via internet has become a raving craze, but the debate of online safety measures necessary for children using social sites has become a hot topic of discussion. Social sites open the door to online interaction with friends, relatives, and classmates; but they also enhance the risk of interaction with online predators. Representative Michael Fitzpatrick, from Pennsylvania, is a sponsor of the Deleting Online Predators Act. He is an advocate for extreme online restrictions for children who use social-networking sites. On the other hand, Henry Jenkins, the director for the Comparative Media Studies program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes that technology is a crucial part of society’s demand of social interaction and that while children should have proper monitoring while they use networking sites they should at least have limited access to these sites.
Representative Fitzpatrick, who is a father of six, comments that technology is undoubtedly a concern for parents. He is worried about the safety of children who use and register with social sites without proper parental monitoring. Fitzpatrick argues that networking sites “open the door to many dangers” for kids. He believes that usage of social sites by children promotes online bullying and exposes users to predators. Representative Fitzpatrick debates that networking sites have “turned the internet into a virtual hunting ground for children.” He points out that since the social site Myspace.com started in 2003, an estimated 200,000 objectionable profiles have been removed from the social site.
Because of his fear of exposure to online predators, Fitzpatrick introduced the Deleting Online Predator Act. This act would require public schools and public libraries to introduce technology that would protect children from accessing social sites and chat rooms while using these facilities. The act would also require the making of a website that would be a resource for teachers, parents, and children to help them become more aware of the potential dangers of the internet. Fitzpatrick’s main concern is for the safety of young users of these social-networking sites; therefore, to protect young users from the dangers of social sites, he introduced stringent protective restrictions in his proposed Deleting Online Predator Act.
Henry Jenkins states that society is at a “moment of transition.” He defends his position of encouraging the use of social sites, by pointing out that networking skills are becoming more and more important in all aspects of life. He argues that even teachers are beginning to take advantage of the world of technology by using the internet to post information about homework on blogs; they also use e-mail to send out information to students and parents to help keep them updated on current and upcoming notifications dealing with school. He debates that the bills presented to restrict social network access from public schools and libraries, such as...

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