Thursday, April 20, 2006

MySpace and sex offender problem

From Wired News:

According to his MySpace page, the 41-year-old San Bruno, California, resident is single, a Sagittarius, a nonsmoker and nondrinker, and counts an online stripper among his six friends. But California's online database of registered sex offenders offers a different profile of the same man ...
Neither this man nor other MySpace users whose names and profiles matched registered sex offenders appeared to have minors on their friends lists. The author of the article seems to see the presence of these men under their real names as an indicator of danger to children, but that might not be the case.

Forcing all registered sex offenders who don't hide their identities to go underground (either through official policies or online harassment) may increase the danger rather than decreasing it.

I do believe that parole officers should have the time and the tools to see if their clients are participating in actions that are their personal pre-offending triggers. Many sex offenders report that intensive supervision programs, when they have enough funding to actually supervise offenders, exert more control over their lives than prison does.

I also believe that people should research others they meet online before giving too much information or agreeing to meet in person.

Certain behaviors should be considered "red flags" to teenagers and parents. The biggest one is a request to share and keep secrets, especially if the secret is an offer to meet in-person or to send a gift.

Just because someone seems likeable and their identity has been verified and checked against all sex offender registries doesn't mean that person is trustworthy. Look for signs of manipulation including a too-good-to-be-real persona. If there aren't any clear red flags, but you aren't sure if someone is being honest when they mirror your opinions, throw out something plausible but very unlike you.

Work to protect yourself and your family, but don't blame yourself if a predator decides to target you.

Victims don't cause people to commit sex offenses, predators have chosen to offend when they seek out potential victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:26 PM   2 comments links to this post


At April 20, 2006 4:51 PM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Great information to know Marcella, thank you for the post about MySpace and sex offender problem!

At April 20, 2006 5:12 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

You're welcome.


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