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If someone has to be over 14 years of age to be a member of MySpace, then why can't a library block anyone under 14 from using it?

As a parent who works in IT, I have been forced to block Myspace at our home because my daughter is getting herself into trouble online. Not only does the activities endanger her, but many of the sites are plagued with spyware and viruses, which become a security concern. Having to clean up one week of her surfing activities on MySpace takes up a good hour or two of my home computer time. Librarians are not paid to be parents, if Myspace becomes a problem at their library, it should be locked down. Its not a question of younger people not being able to have fun, its a question of library resources being properly utilized.

i have a myspace and it is a private account... only if i accept u can u see any of my myspace information... my only friends r ones i now

I'd suggest contacting YALSA. www.ala.org/yalsa

Hi. Our library is on myspace. I'm looking for a speaker to address patrons and the Board about the positive aspects of utilizing myspace to reach our teens. We are located in the western suburbs in Illinois. Know of anyone?

It is dangerous to start pointing our fingers and shrieking that something is horrid and of absolutely no value. Teens using myspace are learning to utilize a type of software that will be extemely important to them in their educational and career endeavors. Many universities these days require work to be submitted online, via social software; many professors also require students to create blogs and/or use their blogs to view assignments. Many corporations conduct a large portion of their daily activities online. And how about telecommuting? Blogs and social software applications are extremely important in the instance of telecommuting.

We should educate internet users to practice "safe use," not ban the applications, cover our eyes and hope that all the evil will simply disappear. A stranger is stranger whether they are on the street or online and we should educate users accordingly, not forbid them access.

I love myspace. It allows me to connect with other individuals that share the same interests with me as well as connecting me with old friends and family that i may have lost touch with. I do understand that there are bad sides to it where people may take advantage of such info that gets posted but they do have security settings that you can change in order to have your profile viewed only by those that you want. It shouldn't be banned anywhere because it's simply a social networking website that allows others to better there social lives without actually going out or through running up the phone bill. I love myspace, i think it is great.

I think that if there is significant amount of people (parents, that is) then myspace should be barred from all computer users. However, you may be doing more harm than good, because some people actually do use their myspace for business. Also, if myspace is block then you (as a librian) will have to block all other sites like facebook, friendster, livejournal, xanga, ect.. So there are pro's and con's to protecting our children in todays otherwise dangerous socitey.

Some libraries out there blocked the MySpace site. Can't you do that also? When patrons inquire the status of the site, staff informs them that it is a problem site and as a result it is blocked. (We were having our computers locked up when patrons visited that site). We kindly reminded our Patrons that the Library Computers are intended for research purposes only and if they are still bother by that (site being blocked), we send them to Internet Cafes and other places where the site is accessible.

my space in and of itself isn't "bad". But...when people post personal information on the internet, a host of problems may arise. Think about how many eyes are reading what you have posted. What if someone who wants to hurt kids is able to log in, see what town you're from, what school you go to, how old you are, what your favorite movies and music are, what your boyfriend/girlfriend's name is, what your pet's name is, knows struggles you've been having (because you blogged about it), etc. Now that person is armed to the teeth with information about you. How easy would it be for them to identify you? To strike up a conversation with you? To hurt you, using information you yourself posted? There are a variety of other concerns as well, but I wanted to answer your question.

why is myspace bad? all we do is talk to our friends. post comments. put up pictures and have a good time i don't see anything wrong with the way we use it. some people yes. me no. i don't post nude pictures of myself, i don't swear[that much] and i don't invite people i don't know. i don't think they should punish us because of a few bad eggs.

How do you stop a social phenomena – myspace.com is the happening place at this moment in time. If it is so bad why not just have the government come in and shut if off forever. If we are worried about bad stuff on the Web– why not shut down Google and Yahoo and all other major services because they have their darker sides as well? Just kidding – but it is a slippery slope picking on one site that is the fad of the moment. Cut off this one and kids will move onto another site if it isn’t myspace.com. Who knows in 12 months myspace.com might not be cool anymore – then we’ll be arguing about the LatestFad.com.

Limiting access is a dangerous proposition --- continue to educate, not everyone will listen and there are bad people all around. You do the best you can.

How is myspace bad?

I may be the oldest living employed librarian with the longest membership in ALA, ACLU, FTRF and IFRT. We had to block the site in our library as it was getting completely out of hand in terms of use and we were very aware of the crimes being committed. I know we did the right thing.

Thanks, Barbara. I see also that LibrarianInBlack has a good post at http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2006/04/myspace_discuss.html

This same question came up at our "Gumshoe Librarian" presentation this past week at the Texas Library Association. I decided to do a little investigation and did not find much but some of these postings might be something to pursue:

*Mid-Hudson Library System had an Internet Safety Workshop last week. One of the topics covered was personal safety and divulging personal information on Internet sites like myspace.com. Hopefully someone at the library posted information from that session. Website: midhudson.org; phone: 845-471-6060

*Aaron Schmidt from Walking Papers posted some information on MySpace and how other libraries are using it. There was a question about how are other public libraries developing policies. http://walkingpaper.org/index.php?tag=del.icio.us

*Just recently: Apple banning MySpace

*Here's a link to Tonganoxie, KS's public library about their Internet Safety Policy. They have a MySpace page.

*From Long Island Press (See article on Library)

*Article on a Texas Community College Banning MySpace.com

Librarians at the session also expressed concerns about YouTube.com.

I sure don't have an easy answer for this one. Anytime a library blocks a site based on its viewpoint or its content, (unless it's child porn, obscenity or "harmful to minors") it's subject to a strong First Amendment challenge.

On the other hand, restricting by PROTOCOL without regard to content is likely an acceptable time-place-manner restriction. Restricting ALL CHAT (by policy - unless someone knows how to do it by protocol or other technical measures) is likely to be okay legally. But then the only exception I can think of that would probably be okay would be the library's OWN chat programs (homework help, virtual reference)... not any other chats, even if its about chess or science or whatever.

Sooooo, I'm thinking the best practice would probably be a proactive educational one. Don't block the site, but educate the public about the dangers of myspace et al in Internet training classes. Of course, most of our users don't take our classes.... any one have other ideas?

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