Sunday, February 05, 2006

myspace and free speech, East TN edition

Is it the newest way in which Myspace is evil, or is this one just first ammendment?
I showed up at Grandmother's house with Momma and the boys for supper tonight. Her Sunday paper was spread about, and the front page blared bright with the newest story about everyone's favorite site.
There are a couple of stories here that stood out to me. Basically a number of high school students from this area have been punished for comments made on Myspace. Apparently the kids were using their own computer, their own time, at home. The other instance involves kids making a fake profile of a teacher and being inappropriate with some comments.
These are two different things. The first instance to me is a clear violation of the kids' first ammendment rights. The schools don't send their roots far enough into the family? Now we have this kind of thing to worry about? As with many issues, this is almost less about this particular instance than it is the power this gives the school in the future.
In the second story, I don't think this has anything to do with the first ammendment. These kids were entirely in the wrong. This does show a problem with Myspace. I've seen profiles hijacked by what amounts to Myspace hackers. In addition, as the news story mentions, Myspace can't tell if you are lying to them. I can't say I know enough about the law to say exactly what I think these kids did. I'd be pretty pissed if someone did this to me.
I have some female friends on Myspace who learned quickly to limit the personal information they put out. Sadly, too many of us guys are basically assholes when we know the girls can't actually see us. This is an instance where a lie on a profile page saves some people a bit of annoyance.
Of course I've also seen profiles where a person claims a certain age, but by reading their page you can learn that they are most likely a few years younger. I'd love for parents to keep their kids off of Myspace for the most part, but I've made that point before, so I won't force it now.

1 comment:

M__ said...

Saw this story too and couldn't agree with you more.