12-04-2005, 06:08 PM #1
Parents: Are Your Kids Fascinated With Murder?
Parents Urged to Monitor Kids' Personal Web Sites ; Content on a Site Discovered During a Murder Investigation in Fayette Highlights the Problem.
They are inexpensive, easy to set up and proliferating at a dizzying rate.
Personal Web pages at so-called social networking Web sites such as MySpace (edited by PFM to add: my personal pet peeve is myspace.com!) allow users to post profiles of themselves and diaries of their experiences in hopes of meeting others with similar interests.
The publication of millions of teenagers' personal thoughts online has created a dilemma: Every now and then, some of those personal thoughts contain disturbing messages that are available to the public, unlike in the days of discreet paper diaries.
During this week's investigation into the death of a 14-year-old girl from Fayette, investigators uncovered a Web site that may belong to the boy charged with killing her. On the site, the author expressed a fascination with school shootings.
The case underscores the need for parents to watch closely what their children post online, experts said.
It also highlights the need for friends who read each other's sites to help their buddies through tough times, said Gary Vines, guidance director at Deering High School.
"We're talking all the time to kids about their civic responsibility and being part of their community," Vines said. "Who's more a part of your community than your friends?"
Vines is one of many school officials concerned about children whose posts on Web sites could foreshadow violent behavior. As once- private information becomes available to Internet users worldwide, he said parents need to get educated about how to monitor their children's online activity and to talk with kids about what they're writing about themselves and why.
In California, a 19-year-old posted threats of a "terror campaign" on an online message board shortly before he killed two neighbors and himself in late October. Web site administrators who monitored the message board made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the man's parents before the killings, but did not alert police.
Internet sites are not required to alert authorities of threatening statements, and typically rely on their users to track abuse and offensive material, said Parry Aftab, a New York attorney who specializes in cyberspace law.
With an estimated 40 million users, many of whom post under pseudonyms, it would be nearly impossible for MySpace to report every inflammatory statement, said Aftab, who runs a volunteer Internet safety organization, WiredSafety.org. ( )
"It's not what they should be doing, any more than we expect phone companies to be policing our phone calls," she said.
The Web site already has employees whose only job is to monitor the content of pictures submitted for publication on individual pages, Aftab said.
Her organization supports increased parental monitoring of social networking sites and is preparing a video about MySpace for parents.
In Maine, police are investigating a MySpace page that may belong to Patrick Armstrong, 14, of Fayette. Armstrong is charged with the Nov. 26 murder of his neighbor, Marlee Johnston.
The author of the MySpace page, "Patrick," described himself as a 14-year-old from Fayette and listed Columbine killer Eric Harris as one of his heroes.
The author also listed "offending people" as one of his general interests, and wrote that he found it "hilarious" that some of his peers were bothered by his interest in school shootings and serial killers. The author last logged on to the site Nov. 26, the day Johnston was killed.
12-04-2005, 06:38 PM #2Pook
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
Actually, it's a little bit the other way around.
My son is quite disgusted with my facination for following trials and looking at evidence.
12-04-2005, 06:52 PM #3Originally Posted by Pook
Still, I don't go posting on message boards, like the article is mentioning, about wanting to go and shoot people. I think that is what the article is getting at though
12-05-2005, 06:14 PM #4
Parents must monitor use of computers
Some television stations on the East Coast still begin their nightly news broadcast with the decades-old public ser-vice announcement: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”
In the age of the computer, a better question for parents is, “Do you know where your children are going online?”
Too many kids are providing too much personal information online. The information plays right into the hands of stalkers, sex offenders and other criminals. And too few parents are fulfilling their responsibility to protect their children from harm. Parents simply must monitor their children’s computer use.
Numbers are sobering
Consider these statistics from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In the past year:
- 1 in 5 teens received a sexual solicitation over the Internet.
- 1 in 33 were aggressively solicited online. In those cases, a solicitor asked to meet them, call them, or send mail or gifts.
- 1 in 4 had unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people or sexual activity over the Internet.
- 1 in 17 were threatened or harassed over the Internet.
Those statistics should frighten every parent with a computer in the house. False sense of security
Youngsters in this community — like teens across America — have discovered online chat rooms where they feel safe meeting new friends, exchanging information and just hanging out.
They might not realize they are providing sensitive information to sexual predators looking for a next victim.
It can, and does, happen in this community.
Detective Jason Glantz of the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force said a Washington teenage girl recently traded names, addresses and other private information with a person she thought was another teen. It turned out to be a man, and when the online relationship turned sour, the cyber-stalker threatened to kill the girl and her family.
A 42-year-old Olympia man was arrested for trying to meet a teen at a local shopping center. He was not aware the person he was corresponding with was a police officer posing as a teen. The man admitted that he had made a similar arrangement over the Internet with another girl. He had sexual contact with that girl. Myspace.com ( )
Of particular concern right now is a teen chat room called myspace.com, where teens from 14 to 22 play games, visit chat rooms and create their own Web page for networking and blogging.
Lynch warned parents about myspace.com, saying naive young people are ill-equipped to recognize the threat that cyberspace predators employ to trap their teens.
Parent Lisa Gosiaco of Tenino forced her daughter to abandon her myspace.com Web site.
“The issue was that people were stumbling into pornography just a click or two away from my kids’ sites,” Gosiaco said. “I was absolutely shocked.”
Many parents might be shocked at the amount of personal information their children have unwittingly given to others.
There’s only one way to find out. Parents have to closely monitor their children’s computer use.
Put the computer in the family room where there is lots of activity. Install parental controls. Use passwords. Monitor the sites visited by teens.
To those parents who feel that prying is spying, go back and read again the statistics on the number of teens who have been sexually solicited, harassed or exposed to pornography online.
12-05-2005, 06:56 PM #5Former Member
Originally Posted by PrayersForMaura
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
ETA: I won't even click on the pedophile sites that have been posted. I am getting enough strange emails now. I am deleting almost everything if I don't recognize the name.
12-05-2005, 11:39 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
If you're posting on this board, you're fascinated with it, too--and probably have been for some time. I started reading true crime books when I was 12. I'm 46.
12-06-2005, 12:41 PM #7
I actually have a myspace, and I think it's great for keeping in touch with people from high school. I've caught up with a lot of people I had lost touch with since I graduated. Although, I do realize that this is not what most people under 18 are doing on there, most people over 18 have one for the same reasons I do. Something that I think is way worse then myspace is HotorNot.com I see no point in that at all. I think it only adds to people being more self conscious about themselves because of their "rating". Also, a lot of spoof sites have come about since hotornot came out. My personal favorite is ratemybutt.com If you need someone to rate your butt you have issues.
Happiness...consists in giving, and in serving others.
- Henry Drummond
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