Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government The Internet News

MySpace Sued by Families of Online Predator Victims 433

Posted by Zonk
from the nothing-funny-goes-here dept.
MySpace is facing more lawsuits, as the victims of sexual predators have filed suit against the social site and parent corporation News Corp. In total, four families from across the U.S. have joined together after their underage daughters were abused by men they met via MySpace. MySpace has responded to past allegations by putting in place educational efforts and partnerships with law enforcement. The company is also developing technologies to allow parents to have some measure of access to their child's account. From the article: "'In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users,' said Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer. The families are seeking monetary damages 'in the millions of dollars,' Itkin said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MySpace Sued by Families of Online Predator Victims

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    while the parents dance all the way to the bank at their childrens expense!! YEEEHAW!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Or more likely, while the parents' lawyers dance all the way to the bank.
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:14PM (#17687368) Homepage Journal
      "...while the parents dance all the way to the bank at their childrens expense!! YEEEHAW!"

      Geez...this is like suing the street corner where young kids hang out at, and get leered at, or possibly assaulted.

      I hope the case gets thrown out, but, probably will not. When did parents abdicate responsibility for monitoring, correcting and teaching their children how to avoid trouble and 'bad' people?

      When did kids get so freaking stupid and gullible as to believe these predators? My parents taught me not to 'talk to strangers', etc. Heck, they let me know where the gun at home was in case when I was there alone and felt threatened. Did ever touch it but once? No....but, one time alone, some haggard guy wouldn't get off the front porch asking for water, etc. I didn't let him in...and I watch through the window and peephole, with the gun in my hand locked and loaded till he left.

      I then put it back, and told my parents about it right afterwards.

      I mean, what is with parents not teaching lessons to kids and making them responsible, etc? My friends and I certainly knew better than to let ourselves get into bad situations. Why don't kids know this today?

      Anyway, I can't see how they can sue MySpace...it is just a public hangout, and the individual should be responsible for their actions and safety, and if the user is underage, then the parent is responsible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by authority69 (747949)
        I'm going to file suit against the parents of these children because "In my view, the parents waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their own children."
    • by xero314 (722674) on Friday January 19, 2007 @06:00PM (#17688168)
      I hope the state brings charges against the parents for neglect, but thanks them for pointing it out. I think removal of their children and a couple (or more) years in prison would do it.
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:27PM (#17686402) Journal
    I hope they sue the highway department also because the bad guys used the public road system to meet these girls.
    • You failed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:32PM (#17686504)
      You failed to do my job for me by protecting my child from his/her own stupidity. Now you must make me rich.

      • Re:You failed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PFI_Optix (936301) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:07PM (#17687238) Journal
        Correction:

        You failed to do my job for me by protecting my child from my own inability to monitor their activity and teach them how to make good decisions. Now you must make me rich.
    • by Cornflake917 (515940) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:41PM (#17686684) Homepage
      Yeah, really the parents should be sueing themselves for being bad parents.

      If you are a parent, and your child gets abused by some predator through a social networking website, you are a bad parent. If you are unaware about the dangers of MySpace to your kids, you need to get out from under that rock, and start taking responsiblity to keep track of what your kids are doing.

      These lawsuits piss me off. I can't believe some parents just think the internet is some utopian place completely disonnected from the real world, filled with funny videos and websites to order their hardware from. There are bad people on the internet just like there are bad people in real life. You should be taking the same percautions for a kid who's sitting in front of a monitor, as a kid who's walking out the door of your house. I'm not even a fucking parent and I know this.
      • by trianglman (1024223) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:56PM (#17686986) Journal
        They aren't necessarily bad parents, unless you think that in order to be a good parent one must monitor their child's actions 100% of the time and be worse than Big Brother. However, this lawsuit is a sign of further poor parenting in that many parents are acting like its other people's jobs to be the parent of their child. In this case they expect MySpace to be the watchful parent that the litigants aren't. Good parenting would lessen the likelihood of a lot of these online pedophiles abusing victims, but not because they monitored their children constantly; it would be because the children feel comfortable talking to their parents about what they are doing. However, not all children, no matter how good the parents, are going to share their entire lives with their parents, nor are all parents going to make that level of excellence.

        Most parents now have to work 50+ hours a week (with both parents working) to keep their children in good schools and pay all of the other things that need to be paid. That they aren't able to keep up with everything their children do isn't a sign of their quality of parenting, its a human limitation. But blaming MySpace is not the answer, and this lawsuit is incredibly stupid.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I tend to agree- you can't watch your children all the time. But whose fault is it if you've given your little girl a private school education, but not enough love and attention that she has to go out and seek it from somebody who will abuse her? Is it really worth the material wealth to work 50 hours a week yet miss out on giving your kids the non-material attention that they need?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by delt0r (999393)
            I'm thinking that perhaps they didn't go out looking for someone that will abuse them. That just who they ended up with this time. And what about all the normal girls that end up in these type of relationships? And anyway what is normal.

            Good people can come from very dark family backgrounds. Bad kids can come from loving families.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I'm thinking that perhaps they didn't go out looking for someone that will abuse them.

              No, they went out looking for someone who would give them the attention they weren't getting from their parents.

              That just who they ended up with this time.

              Yes, but if they were getting that attention from their families, they wouldn't need to go looking for others.

              And what about all the normal girls that end up in these type of relationships? And anyway what is normal.

              Normal is meeting somebody at school and brin
        • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:13PM (#17687356) Journal
          I see what you mean, but I would tend to look at this from the "Teach a man a fish..." perspective. Rather than monitoring what the child is doing and making the decisions for them (which will simply leave them incapable of acting on their own), it seems to me that it is the job of the parent(s) to teach the child how to make the sensible decision on if it's really a good idea to meet random MySpace people at all, and if so who to meet, where to meet them and who to bring along. Once the child actually understands the point, they can decide for themselves, no monitoring needed.
          • by Dread_ed (260158) on Friday January 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#17688996) Homepage
            Sometimes the tough part is convincing your budding teens that you are actually advising them in an affort to help them. At that age, there is an ingrained (IMHO) belief that parents are just trying to fuck up all of our fun in life.

            My wife and I have totally won over our oldest by a few simple excercises. First we have had open and frank converstaions with her about all subjects. She is informed on all the subjects that she has questions about and some that she never did question because we thought it was proper that she was prepared and not ignorant.

            Second, we allow her to make many decisions that we do not agree with 100% (within limits, no need to call CPS). We preface this with discussion of why we think this is the wrong thing for her, caution her about what she needs to be careful of, and most importantly, we tell her in no uncertain terms what we think the outcome will be. This teaches her, in our opinion, responsibility for her actions and the true value of her parent's approval and counsel. The fact that we have made the right call much more often than not with our predictions is well in our favor.

            The result? Now all we have to do is caution our daughter about certain actions and behaviors and she does the rest. By the rest I mean that she asks us why we think it is a bad idea and is truly interested in what we think and say. Then she thinks about what we have told her and comes to a decision.

            For my wife and I it is the best possible outcome. We dont want automatons for children. People like that make good wage-slaves, but we don't want that limitation to come as a result of our upbringing.

            The freedom we give her in certain areas is not only a way to create a free thinking adolescent that is independent and strong, but also a test to see where she is heading mentally and socially. It helps us to figure out where we need to apply gentle pressure and lets us get a good glimpse of what is going on inside her head.
        • by Deagol (323173) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:30PM (#17687680) Homepage
          Most parents now have to work 50+ hours a week (with both parents working) to keep their children in good schools and pay all of the other things that need to be paid. That they aren't able to keep up with everything their children do isn't a sign of their quality of parenting, its a human limitation.

          No, it's a sign of rampant consumerism. I'm raising a family of 4 on 16.75/hr @ 4hr/day (that's $17420/yr). I work from home and we home school the kids. One $40,000 1200-ft^2 house, one $16,000 truck, and a handful of low utilities. No unsecured debt, no payday loans, no over-indulgence on shiny things. We live well and eat even better (Ever eat home-raised pork? It don't get much better than that.) The boogie-man of "good schools" causing people to flee to rich 'burbs with good schools and "force" over-worked families to never see each other is the result of good marketing and media scaremongering, and the gullibility of the general population.

          But blaming MySpace is not the answer, and this lawsuit is incredibly stupid.

          Indeed.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:48PM (#17687972) Homepage Journal
          They aren't necessarily bad parents, unless you think that in order to be a good parent one must monitor their child's actions 100% of the time and be worse than Big Brother.

          Personally, I think that what they need to do is raise children capable of making good decisions, and that is clearly not what they have done. I don't know about y'all, but my mommy taught me to avoid strangers, not to get into their cars or accept things from them, et cetera. And you know what? She didn't tell it to me in a stupid baby voice or otherwise insult my intelligence, so I listened to her. Mind you, I didn't listen to everything she told me - but she managed to raise me in such a manner that I was capable of making reasonable judgments.

          Most people treat their children like babies well into adolescence. They switch up to treating them like adolescents sometime around the time they're a teenager. They never really treat them like an adult, an equal. Then they wonder on their deathbed what happened to their relationship with their kids.

          However, not all children, no matter how good the parents, are going to share their entire lives with their parents, nor are all parents going to make that level of excellence.

          Their entire lives? That's not remotely what we're talking about here and frankly it is not necessary if you arm your children with the confidence to make good decisions, and if you instill in them the confidence in you necessary for them to listen to you. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have personally watched parents lie to their children. They seem to think that does not have repercussions. Children do not forget when you lie to them; if you're full of shit, they will remember, and they will have less regard for anything you say subsequently. At some point I got tired of my mother (who did her best, bless her heart) giving me bullshit answers to questions to which she did not know the answers, and I stopped asking her pretty much everything.

          Most parents now have to work 50+ hours a week (with both parents working) to keep their children in good schools and pay all of the other things that need to be paid.

          And that's somehow MySpace's fault? Actually I don't agree that it's even the case for most families. If you look at the majority of these households that are whining about how both parents have to work so many long hours and all that shit, they tend to have a new[ish] car in the driveway that they're making payments on, they've chosen to live in a place that has high rents and for that matter they are renting something nice instead of buying something acceptable and working up. In short, they are living beyond their means. Then, because they are living beyond their means and do not have time to raise their children (the most important job they will ever have) they want other people to raise their children for them.

          Now, I'm not saying that everyone in financial trouble did it to themselves. Bad things happen to good people. But the majority of Americans are in debt not just for things they need, but things they don't. They give in to their kids and buy them brand-name clothing, some big fancy backpack with flashing lights and shit, and hundred dollar sneakers. Then they complain that they have to work their asses off to give them a good life. Well, that's not a good life, it's a commercialized life, and in the process they support slave labor and all that wonderful shit.

          I'm tired of hearing the argument that people don't have time to raise their kids. Nothing is more important than raising your children properly, and that doesn't mean that you have to live in the lap of luxury. If people didn't spend so much money keeping their children entertained so that they wouldn't have to do any parenting, they wouldn't need as much money. If they didn't need the SUV status symbol to protect daddy's ego, then they could buy a used minivan which would not only be cheaper, but which would get better mileage and be safer to boot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrScotsman (857078)

        If you are a parent, and your child gets abused by some predator through a social networking website, you are a bad parent. If you are unaware about the dangers of MySpace to your kids, you need to get out from under that rock, and start taking responsiblity to keep track of what your kids are doing.

        I glimpsed over TFA, the girls are aged 14 and 15. I am speaking as a 17 year old saying that 14 is maybe borderline, but every 15 year old girl I know in school is definitely smart enough not to meet up with someone on the internet like that. The lawsuit is retarded, but I'd definitely not blame the parents. Law may have to define an age below which everyone is automatically stupid (18/21/etc.), but in reality this certainly isn't true.

        Granted, the parents probably didn't do what I'd expect them to

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tanktalus (794810)

          Speaking as a 33 year old who remembers being 17 and thinking the 15 year old girls I knew were smart enough not to meet up with someone on the internet like that, I'd have to wonder about that. It's very easy for teens to feel all alone in the world as if they were the only ones with problems, when they spend all day at school with other teens feeling the same way. Because most of these teens are skilled at putting on social masks to hide their own perceived pain, some teens never see the pain their frie

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spyrochaete (707033)
      Thanks for saying this. I was just about to ask why they're not suing the IEEE for developing the Internet Protocol.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KillerCow (213458)
      They actually might have a claim under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine [wikipedia.org].

      Under the attractive nuisance doctrine of the law of torts, a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children, who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by krotkruton (967718)
        It's a question of law and deserves to be decided. Precedent has to be determined somehow.

        That's a really good point. As much as it disgusts me to see parents blaming others or expecting other people to protect their children, a precedent has to be set at some point. Hopefully this case will find in favor of MySpace, so maybe (crosses fingers) we won't have to hear the people with the largest mouths but least common sense bitch so much.
  • Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku (518261) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:29PM (#17686440) Homepage
    Go ahead and sue the mall for not protecting your children.

    Your ISP for transmitting the email.

    Dell for supplying you with the computer.

    Finally, Ikea for supplying the desk/chair that your daughter sat on to correspond with the predator. Without them, she probably wouldn't have made contact and talked to the predator.

    All of this could have probably been prevented by proper education/supervision. But its easier to sue than it is to raise a kid.
    • Send the parents to jail. If someone facilitates a crime by looking the other way while it's being done, the law defines it as being an "accessory to crime". And that's exactly what those parents are.
    • Re:Great idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kaizenfury7 (322351) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:41PM (#17686674)
      Just out of curiousity, is there any precedence for parents being charged with parental negligence in this type of situation? This would go a long way in encouraging/coercing parents to be accountable for their children.
    • But its easier to sue than it is to raise a kid.

      It's easier to raise a kid with a couple extra million in your account...
  • Of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DragonMageWTF (887275)
    Because parenting your own children is so old fashioned.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gzerphey (1006177)
      To paraphrase Bender: Have you ever tried turning off the computer, sitting down with your children, and hitting them...
  • These parents should take a look at themselves first. Knowing what sites your children visit is just part of being a responsible parent.
  • ...to babysit other people's kids.
  • I know... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IflyRC (956454)
    That there is going to be a lot of responses claiming how it is the parent's responsibility and that MySpace is of no fault. Still though, if you look at it from a different viewpoint...maybe that of how bars are sometimes legally responsible for the deaths in drunk driving accidents should a person leave the establishment with the bartender/employees knowing they are not fit to drive.

    • Re:I know... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deagol (323173) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:43PM (#17686742) Homepage
      if you look at it from a different viewpoint...maybe that of how bars are sometimes legally responsible for the deaths in drunk driving accidents should a person leave the establishment with the bartender/employees knowing they are not fit to drive.

      That's no less lame than this lawsuit is. Just because there is much nanny-state-ism deeply entrenched in the country, we shouldn't support more of the same.

    • People are still ultimately responsible for their own actions. Where do we draw the line on my responsibility to make sure that you are behaving in a socially acceptable or responsible fashion? It is a tough question of morality and one that obviously does not have a black or white answer.
    • Re:I know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by psykocrime (61037) <mindcrime.cpphacker@co@uk> on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:48PM (#17686842) Homepage Journal
      Still though, if you look at it from a different viewpoint...maybe that of how bars are sometimes legally responsible for the deaths in drunk driving accidents should a person leave the establishment with the bartender/employees knowing they are not fit to drive

      Those cases are bullshit just like this is though. Individuals are responsible for their own actions... it's ridiculous to think that my actions (getting drunk, driving, getting in a wreck) can in any way involuntarily impose any sort of legal obligation on someone else (bartender, bar owner).

      Now I'll accept that it might not be ethical for a bar to continue serving someone who is wasted, at least without checking to see if they're driving, but unethical != illegal.
    • by thesolo (131008) *
      Bad analogy. A bartender knows how many drinks they have served to a patron, and can watch their behavior, etc. The only way Myspace could do something similar is if they have staff members sitting there reading each message, etc. Even then, they can't guarantee that the age someone enters into the site is accurate. Either way, I don't agree with the bartender (or Myspace) being sued. The drinker has to have some level of personal responsibility, as do the parents of these children, plain & simple.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Consider some salient differences.

      Myspace provides communication. Communication is not inherently predatory. Bars provide alcohol. Alcohol is inherently intoxicating to humans. The proprietor of a bar knows that alcohol exceeding some amount will necessarily produce intoxication. Myspace operators cannot know that communication in any amount will necessarily result in sexual predation. There is a fundamental qualitative difference between what these two kinds of service provide.

      Let's say your b

    • by Virak (897071)
      MySpace shouldn't be in any way held accountable for this. They can't ensure that everyone always tells the truth about themselves without extensive, invasive, impractical checks to get everyone's personal details, and then monitoring of all posted content so that none of it has false information.

      And it's not just the parents' fault, for not paying at least *some* attention to their daughters' activities online, it's also the fault of their children, for not having even the slightest bit of common sense. Th
    • by rborek (563153)

      They have a responsibility because they sold and served you the alcohol - in many (most?) locales it is illegal to serve to the point of intoxication, so they owe you a duty of care.

      In Ontario, bars owe a duty of care to patrons (and therefore to anyone they injure), but people who hold parties in which guests may drink do not owe a duty of care, as they bring their own alcohol and consume it on their own. This would be a more appropriate analogy - MySpace provides the site, pages, and outlet (for free no

    • How? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kelson (129150) *
      • How does an online chat service verify that someone is not lying about his age? Require a photo? Too easy to submit someone else's. Credit card = adult, no credit card = minor? Kids an grab their parents' cards. Adults can pretend they don't have one. Trivia questions about pup culture in the 1970s and today, to see which ones they get right? Have each subscriber walk into the local MySpace office to get verified in person? They can send someone else in and use their account.
      • How does an online cha
  • Just wondering... is it easier to win a lawsuit against a communications company than to win a criminal case against the actual predators? No, wait, according to TFA, at least one of the abusers has already been convicted.

    So... where do the phone company, post office, manufacturers of digital cameras, and Dell fit into this?
    • by PingSpike (947548)
      Dude, that predator guy doesn't have any money, at least not millions anyway. And even if the lawsuit was successful, he's going to be in prison for a long time. You can't garnish a guys wages when he makes 2cents an hour stamping license plates! Newscorp however, they have lots of money...coupled with the fact that most judges barely understand technology and could be potentially confused into thinking that 'the internets' is responsible...you've got a recipe for a fat cash settlement!

      I mean, why else woul
  • I knew better than to post any personal information.

    My real name did not appear on the web until I was 18.

    This is a story of Darwinism in action.

    The parents should be sued for not raising their kids right...
    • by RingDev (879105)
      An interesting thought. Could the perpetrators sue the parent's for entrapment?

      "You raised your kid to be a sex offender magnet!"

      -Rick
  • by e4g4 (533831) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:33PM (#17686524)
    ...Not to agree to meet with some stranger they met online! No matter how "kewl" he seems. How difficult is that?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by delt0r (999393)
      So how often did you disobey your parents? Say just once, or lots of times. Were not talking about a 5 year old. We are talking about 13+ something and doing what parents tell them is not a strong point in that age group.
  • by joe 155 (937621)
    I don't like myspace, or news corp, but this is crazy. Why doesn't myspace sue the parents for not educating and protecting their child. Its a big scary world out there, and you're not doing your kids any favours by 1) allowing them to use the whole of the internet unsupervised and 2)not educating them about the dangers which will be faced online and in "the real world" - I was always told "dont talk to strangers, don't follow them or accept gifts from them", why didn't they teach their kids this?

    Over an
    • Trust or tryst? :) (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:42PM (#17686704)
      Probably not the same situation (I don't know if the girls knew the guys were older men), but when I was 17, I had a short affair with a 34 year old woman (a neighbor two houses down). I had a near perfect relationship with my parents, but do you think I told them about it? To this day they don't know.
      • by joe 155 (937621)
        Hell, you should tell them, if my son picked up a 34 year old woman when he was 17 I'd be proud.

        Other than that I'd say that the girls were 14 and 15... I know I was a bit of a shut-in but when I was 14 I didn't even go to town on my own (although that was through choice because I hated getting busses) but if I did, or when I went to a friends house, I would always tell my parents where I was going, who with, and when I was going to be back. I would expect the same from my kids and it doesn't seem like t
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cervantes (612861)
        Probably not the same situation (I don't know if the girls knew the guys were older men), but when I was 17, I had a short affair with a 34 year old woman (a neighbor two houses down). I had a near perfect relationship with my parents, but do you think I told them about it? To this day they don't know.

        Jimmy.... is that you?

        Please tell me you mean 2 houses NORTH of us (the nice widow Lichtoff) and not 2 houses SOUTH of us (Aunt Flo).
        And I hope to God it's not 2 houses WEST of us (strange Mr Flueffenpaenten)

        L
  • shifting blame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:33PM (#17686530) Homepage
    Its not the criminal, its the gun
    Its not the owner, its the pit bull
    Its not the parents, its the website
  • Hey, I feel sorry for the kids who got hurt, but this is exactly the same sort of thing as trying to sue a gun manufacturer because someone you know got shot. MySpace doesn't rape people (at least, not physically), people rape people. These ass-hat parents need to be taken to court themselves as they've proven they're unfit parents by not supervising their internet use and their travel. Oh wait, that would mean that parents are responsible for their children...
  • by jackelfish (831732) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:34PM (#17686546)
    I am in no way condoning the behavior of the predators skulking around the internet, but I really do not see how this is My Space's responsibility. I know of several families that have their computer situated off in the basement or in their child's room and will leave them unattended for hours with their high speed connection and webcam. I have no idea where the families in this story kept their computers, but a little diligence on a parents part, in my opinion, goes a long way. If the kids stumble onto these situations and get entrapped by these people, how is suing News Corp going to make any difference at the end of the day? There will always be sexual predators out there and there will always be children looking for attention. I think that the solution to this problem is already at home.
  • A class action lawsuit against parents who don't take any responsability for raising their children, but instead insist that it's *everyone else's* responsibility... and then sue every time little Billy or Suzy wanders into unsupervised trouble...

    Oh wait. Lawyers don't like class-action lawsuits unless big companies with lots of money are involved. And, it makes too much sense. Oh well.

    Dear parents: Stop waxing your cars in your 2 car garage, showing off the boat, planning your vacation home, watching TV, a
  • What sort of parents are so out of touch with their children (especially underage), that they allow this sort of thing to happen? Parents should always be aware of where their kids are and take some friggin responsibility, rather than let TV and the internet raise them. "I left my kid in front of the computer while I went out shopping with some friends, assuming my kid was responsible enough to make mature decisions at a young age... now my kid is in danger because the interweb is evil so I'm suing."

    Compu
    • I left my kids in front of the computer because I was working two jobs to put food on the table and keep them clothed because corporate America thinks I don't need a living wage.
  • by pembo13 (770295)
    I don't like MySpace, but for different reasons. Suing them for this of all this is plain stupid. Or did MySpace buy the kid a computer and internet connection, and setup their MySpace account and email account for them? If MySpace did all that then I guess they may be liable.
  • by netbuzz (955038) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:42PM (#17686712) Homepage
    They're exactly alike, at least according to the Texas lawyer who who filed this asinine suit. He says "these virtual sites are no different" than a daycare center in terms of their responsibilities to keep children safe. I went off on a bit of a rant this morning on my blog trying to explain the difference to him, if you're interested:
    http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/1057 4 [networkworld.com]
       
  • by derrickh (157646) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:42PM (#17686714) Homepage
    Gravity Sued by Old People: 'Without the 'weak force' they never would have falled and would have no need to get back up'

    The Sun Sued by Skin Cancer Victims: 'The Sun knew it was hot, and still continued burning'

    The Internets sued by George Bush: 'President demands and end to "plural network" joke'

    Attractive Women Sued by Geeks: 'Nerds demand compensation for sweat stained shirts and ruined pants'

    D
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:42PM (#17686724) Homepage Journal
    This story is a great example of what happens when two values come into conflict. When MySpace comes up on Slashdot, the general tone is usually one of dismissal, disregard, and disgust. Most people at Slashdot -- at least, the most vocal ones -- look down on MySpace for technical, aesthetic, social or political reasons.

    But frivolous lawsuits are even more reviled, particularly those which could produce a chilling effect on free speech. (Taken to an extreme, the idea that MySpace is at fault would lead to every online site with so much as a guestbook being liable for anything that happens as a result of people posting there.)

    The result: Every comment I've seen on this thread (ok, there are only about 20 of them) has been in MySpace's favor. Not what you'd expect from Slashdot, until you factor in the bigger picture.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670)
      I think it's also a case of us all being sick of frivilous litigation. We've had it with the "I'm a fat tard, let's go sue McDonalds, Wendys, KFC..." type lawsuits and this one falls in that category, IMHO. The /. community is not so much defending MySpace as it is condemning these type of ridiculous suits that do nothing but enrich the trial attorneys. And until people who bring frivilous litigation to the courts are held accountable for wasting the Court's (read Taxpayer's) time and money, it's not goi
    • by dr_dank (472072) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:42PM (#17687882) Homepage Journal
      The result: Every comment I've seen on this thread (ok, there are only about 20 of them) has been in MySpace's favor. Not what you'd expect from Slashdot, until you factor in the bigger picture.

      Indeed. Some screechy ignorant asshole who believes that the internet is trying to fuck their children and thinks they deserve a free bag of money is far more distasteful than Myspace pages that could give Helen Keller a seizure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by vga_init (589198)

      I don't see a conflict; Slashdot doesn't hate Myspace so much as it hates people who use Myspace. In this case, the villians are BOTH Myspace users AND frivolous lawsuit filers. That means they are quite possibly the worst people on Earth in the eyes of Slashdot (with possible exceptions of spammers, crackpot scientists, Steve Ballmer, republicans, lawyers who are not Lawrence Lessig, some European countries, various christian denominations, the United States government, anyone associated with the RIAA,

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:43PM (#17686734)
    I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened. Has AOL been sued for their chatrooms? Actually, yes they have...

    One thing that upsets me is that MySpace is already taking steps to correct this.

    But it doesn't matter because these parents are teaching their kids that it's okay to not take responsibility for their own actions. Do whatever you want, and if something goes bad, sue someone for letting you screw up. It's not your fault that you stuck your hand in the outlet, there was nothing stopping you.

    We are now operating on the assumption that people lack the basic instinct of self preservation. It's one thing to lie or mislead. It's another to give people something with good intentions, but hold them responsible when others abuse it. It's a whole other thing when the owners are already trying to curb the abuse and are doing what I consider *due diligence.*

    It's stupid, and these parents are stupid for blaming the service for their kids' screwups. I'm sorry this happened to your kids. I'm sorry that *you* didn't teach your kids that strangers can be dangerous. Own up and hold those actually responsible accountable.
  • by daeg (828071) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:43PM (#17686744)
    I'm should have a kid just so I can get rich off of my own bad parenting skills.
  • who sees this as the parents just looking for someone to blame other than themselves?

    "o no it can't be my fault, i wasn't there when they were talking.. it was myspace!"
  • I know this isn't an original idea on Slashdot, but perhaps, you know, the parents could have monitored the children! But that's crazy talk, because then they might not have been able to watch the entire two hour season premiere of American Idol or follow their stocks. The internet, government, and everyone involed in those things should be worried about the life that the parent brought into the world, not the parent! After all, they created the kid, shouldn't that be enough?

    All of the things that MySpace has been sued for could easily have been prevented with good parenting. Where are your kids going? Who are they talking to online? Sure, they can lie, but that's why you keep tabs. When they get back, ask them if they had a good time at some other place. If they respond postively, you've just caught them in a lie. If not, you can fake like it's old-people confusion. You can't always protect them, though, so educate them. Make sure they understand that they can meet a lot of cool people on the internet, but some of these people want to hurt them. It's okay to talk to someone, but if someone wants to meet them you (the parent) have to get involved.

    Here's a newsflash to these un-parents: Myspace isn't the only place where this kind of thing can be done! It is, however, one of the higher profile and richer websites, hence the lure. The potential for these acts have been around since the Internet has. I can recall being sent a picture of some guy's dick in an e-mail when I was 13 (8 years ago) or so because I gave him my e-mail address thinking he was going to send me cheat codes for a video game. At that time I had to go to the library to chat, because my parents wouldn't let me chat online at home. So I wound up in an unsupervised environment where I could have given out more information about myself or location if someone had taken me into their confidence.

    While you're at it, why not sue the mall, store, or park where the pedo and kid met up? After all, the kid was there and the mall/store/park didn't bother to watch your kid for you, either.

    What happened to the kids was horrible, and from the article at least some of those who actually did the harm have been locked up. This is good. But what happened on MySpace can (and probably does) happen on any other social site, in various large-scale chat rooms, even through e-mail groups. They shouldn't be sued for it.
  • Victim mentality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jadecristal (135389) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:50PM (#17686884)
    I'm getting REALLY tired of the victim mentality that people seem to have ANY time something goes wrong in their lives. Nothing that happens to them is EVER their fault, nor a result of choices they made. In this case, the parents filing suits can't acknowledge that THEY failed to teach, watch over, and ultimately protect their children; it must have been someone else's fault for not doing it for them.

    The failure of people to take responsibility for what they do - along with the general sense of entitlement that people seem to have for everything from "free" food to "free" retirement benefits at the hands of the government - is speeding not just their own demise, but the demise of everyone's freedoms. More laws get enacted to prevent so-called frivolous lawsuits, preventing people who NEED to sue from suing, and the government takes more and more money to fund "just one more social program, 'for the children.'"

    *rant mode off, flamesuit mode on*
  • They would have sued the abusers, but incarcerated sex offenders aren't known for their deep pockets.

    Ba dum bum.

  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:58PM (#17687040) Journal
    Technology giveth and technology taketh away. Unless your kid is especially Windows PC savvy just do this:

    Open C:\WINNT or WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts in notepad
    Append these lines:
    # block myspace.com host names
    127.0.0.1 log.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 browseusers.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 classifieds.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 collect.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 events.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 favorites.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 forum.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 groups.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 home.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 invite.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 linux.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 login.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 message.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 messages.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 music.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 mx2.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 ns1.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 ns2.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 profile.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 rio.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 search.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vids.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 viewmorepics.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta01.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta02.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta03.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta04.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta05.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta06.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta07.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta08.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta09.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta10.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta11.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta12.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 vmta13.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 www.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 www1.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 videos.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 mail.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 signup.myspace.com
    127.0.0.1 security.myspace.com

    Done!

    Hell, while you are there add this one too: 127.0.0.1 ads.doubleclick.com

    I got this from: http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/forum/interne t/26149-how-block-myspace-com.html [softwareti...tricks.com]
  • by Cornflake917 (515940) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:04PM (#17687186) Homepage
    FTA:

    "Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere," he said.
    Hopefully these lawsuits can spur Myspace to make a disclamer stating:

    "If you are retarded enough to meet up and give your personal information to a stranger, then please don't use this website."
  • by necro2607 (771790) on Friday January 19, 2007 @05:16PM (#17687416)
    Come on, give me a break. This is just downright stupid.

    I'm so sick of people freaking out about online social sites. Take legal action against the criminal.

    People are able to meet people in a huge huge variety of ways. You can just stand on the street and meet people! Are we going to start suing our cities for offering a place for sexual predators to attack potential victims (parking lots, alley ways, etc.)?

    It's so hard not to feel angry about this. Myspace is a completely legitimate site to meet people, socialize, check out some bands, etc. If you're meeting someone on Myspace (or ANY online social site) and choosing to meet them in person, sending them suggestive pictures, giving them your phone number, that is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. YOU are choosing to do all of these things.

    I've been on Myspace since 2004, have been in contact with hundreds of hundreds of people, and it's damn easy for me to realize I shouldn't give out my phone number, address, or even real name. It's just common fucking sense! Unless you like getting prank called at 4AM in the morning, or worse, having some kind of predator type person showing up in the middle of the night, or whatever, keep your information private!
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday January 19, 2007 @07:24PM (#17689302) Homepage Journal
    When I was younger, a neighbor kid was shot by one of the other kids in the neighborhood. This was in a horrible town in Texas, and it was an accident.

    Even so, the neighbor kid's parents sued the other family and got a pretty good chunk of money. They got a new TV and a bunch of other things that white trash buy when they come into some money.

    I was about 10 years old at the time. But even then, it struck me. "Is this what your son was worth to you? This is the replacement? A big TV and more shit in your shit filled house?"

    I lost my mom when i was 9, but at no point did i figure that i had any entitlements coming my way from society. From God - sure. He and I were through.. but nobody owed me anything. As a coping mechanism, I asked my dad if I was going to start getting lots of extra presents. When I was younger, we had met a family where the father had passed away and the kids were showered with toys all the time. He and I both knew i was "joking" (joking as a coping mechanism).

    I dont think there can be much of anything more devastating to a young girl than rape or other coerced sex acts (I'm assuming what happened here was only partly consentual..) But it's not clear that a big pile of money is going to make that better now. Where is this money going to go? To pay for the counseling the girl needs? For hymen reconstruction? Maybe it could be donated to to a battered womens shelter or something meaningful? To what extent are the parents saying "if you're going to enable the sexual assault of our daughter, that is forsale for $zzz".

    It's not clear what mySpace could do better here. Block the display / transfer of pictures from those under 16 to those over 19? It would be one thing if mySpace was ONLY setup to allow sexual exploitation of minors. Putting a bus stop in a bad part of town is arguably as much of risk as the way myspace works.

    We hosted a technology day for middle school and high school girls here at work recently. It was pretty cool, but i was pretty alarmed that one of the prizes was a web cam. One of the things we did was a seminar on online safety for kids/girls, but then we turned around and gave out cameras. Oops :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by _newwave_ (265061)

      It's not clear what mySpace could do better here. Block the display / transfer of pictures from those under 16 to those over 19?

      To an extent, MySpace does this already. Any profile under the age of 17 is automatically private to adults (18 and over) unless they are friends.

  • Stupidity Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ender77 (551980) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:19PM (#17689816)
    I would like to see a law passed that allow companies to countersue stupid parents who blame other people for their lack of parenting skills.
  • by pnuema (523776) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:20PM (#17689836)
    Not a single thread supporting the lawsuit modded +3. Mostly comments from people who don't have kids talking about things they have no experience with (i.e. raising children), and smug comments from people who do. I don't care about my karma, so here goes:

    1. It is impossible to monitor your kids all of the time. We were all kids once, and we know it is true. This has nothing to do with parenting skill.

    2. MySpace has been operating for quite a while knowing full well that child predators are active on their site.

    3. MySpace could certainly have done more to validate identity (registration through snail mail?), but that would have eaten into profits.

    4. MySpace has made a pile of money (mainly by being bought) while operating in this manner.

    So, from where I sit, MySpace has made a pile of money by being user-friendly to child predators. Why shouldn't they get sued again?

    • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Friday January 19, 2007 @09:09PM (#17690270) Homepage Journal
      Forget about whose to blame. Lets talk about law. Myspace isn't breaking it.

      What gives the government the right to tell Myspace that their service must not be anonymous when most of the rest of the internet gets to be?

      If we're going to have a change, it needs to be a change that everybody agrees to make - a change to the system itself; to how we connect to the internet. I don't think that's going to happen, though. The anonymous protection is sort of a double-edged sword: while it keeps predators safe, it also keeps the young anonymous unless they reveal themselves.

      Which is very much what I'd like to continue. I was quite angry when the DMV forced my 18 year old sister to put a big, red "UNDER 21" sign on the bottom of her car tag. Leave anonymity alone. Taking it away does more harm than good.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jack Sombra (948340)
      "2. MySpace has been operating for quite a while knowing full well that child predators are active on their site."
      So have malls, cinemas, street corners or pretty much anywhere else you can think of...with the most common place being the family home or a relations home. So your point is? Only way anything could operate and guarantee child predators could not operate is.....actually there is no way except to kill all children in the world

      "3. MySpace could certainly have done more to validate identity (regist
  • by haggie (957598) on Friday January 19, 2007 @08:23PM (#17689868)
    Online Predator v. Online Alien
  • by BlazeMiskulin (1043328) on Friday January 19, 2007 @09:13PM (#17690298) Homepage
    I haven't read through all of the responses, but two fairly distinct views are coming out: Parents need to monitor their children to protect them from predators, and parents need to teach their children to protect them from predators. And there's lots of discussion about what is and is not a "good parent".

    I'd just like to make a few points:

    • If good parenting requires monitoring the teen's activities online, doesn't it also follow that the parents should hover around the mall, the park, the school, the coffee shop, and the mini-golf course?
    • With the exception of the one girl who was drugged, there's no mention of what constituted the "sexual assault". These girls all went willingly to a meeting with these men, there is no mention of coercion, force, or gross deception.
    • How long had these girls been talking with these men? Could it be that they went to meet them specifically for "romantic" encounters, knowing full well the age differences?


    Anyone who believes that 14-16 year old girls don't go looking for sexual encounters--even with significantly older men--has never dealt with teen-age girls. This isn't as one-sided as people want to make it out to be. These men weren't forcing the girls to talk to them. Other than the one young man lying that he was still in high school (he's only 19, so that's not a huge lie), we have no evidence that there was any deception going on at all. The guy who drugged the girl can definitely be considered a predator, but it's fully possible that the other guys simply got involved in a 2-way relationship which progressed to a point where both parties were willing to meet and take it further.

    I'm not saying that this was the smartest move on anyone's part, but considering that--depending on the states these people are in--the sexual encounters could have been entirely consensual and legal, the situation needs to be considered from other perspectives.

    Having spent many years teaching high school students, I'm quite certain that there's more to the story than is being presented in the article or the law suits.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

Working...