MySpace: Kiddie Porn for Millions?

It’s no secret that the on-line website MySpace.com has become a global phenomenon. Radio personalities, television shows, bands, and even entire broadcast networks have MySpace accounts these days. I wonder, however, if anyone has taken a close look at the majority of MySpace users. If so, they should notice something: a good amount of MySpace users are under 18. In addition to that, a disturbing amount of these underage users are females who have very revealing and almost naked pictures of themselves in their profiles. I can’t help but wonder two things. First, how is it that so many children are able to post these pictures without their parents knowing? Second, how many of these children are actually talking to a child predator?

I’ll admit that I have no children and do not plan on having any for some time. However, I’ve cared for children before and can’t understand how an adult could allow their child to roam the internet without some type of supervision – especially this day and age. The internet isn’t what it was when it first came out. These days, you can find anything and everything you could possibly want on the internet. Although it would be unfair to not allow a child access to a very crucial educating tool, to allow a child to surf the internet completely unattended is irresponsible. On MySpace.com, I have seen profiles with 14-year-old girls wearing nothing but a thong. Any responsible parent would be in touch with their children and recognize what they’re doing on the computer. Even if they just occasionally visited their child’s MySpace address, it would show that they care and are genuinely interested in what is going on in their child’s life. Not only are parents sending the message to their children that their lives are more important, but they’re sending the message that posting revealing pictures of yourself at the age of 14 on the internet is okay. Parents need to stop rushing around with their own lives and realize that if they don’t start raising their children, someone else will; most likely in a manner they wouldn’t approve of.

The irresponsibility of parents is a major issue here, but the pictures themselves are what really concerns me. It seems like going onto MySpace is the quickest and easiest way for a child predator to find victims. With children becoming sexually active and explicit at younger and younger ages, it’s like the clichÃ?© saying of a “kid in a candy store.” Any child predator can fill out a bogus MySpace profile with someone else’s pictures and find thousands of profiles with young girls willing to expose themselves. Former Deputy Press Secretary Brian J. Doyle was just arrested and charged with seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor after he was caught trying to seduce who he thought was a 14-year-old girl (luckily, it was an undercover detective). This is a man who held a position of great power and still committed these crimes. Imagine just how many people are committing crimes like these against children and aren’t being caught. Unfortunately, MySpace is like a breeding ground for pedophiles.

The real problem here lies within the girls themselves. It’s true that MySpace could take other measures to ensure that underage girls can not post such pictures, but that’s not addressing the real issue. The vast majority of women (not just girls) in this world do not like themselves. They feel that their not pretty enough, smart enough, and/or able enough. The media has ensured that most women will need the approval of a man to feel good about themselves, hence the overwhelming amounts of pictures on MySpace that depict young girls in barely any clothes at all. It’s a shame that women feel this way and it’s an even bigger shame that the problem grows every day. Women should be viewed in all shapes and sizes as they really are: beautiful. If anyone out there thinks that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I invite them to view my MySpace profile which is linked in “Resources.” Looked at it yet? That’s right – I’m a big girl.

When I was younger, I hated myself. The media portrayed beautiful women as thin or fit with blonde hair and large breasts. I was made fun of on a daily basis because of my size. I was diagnosed with depression at a young age, ended up becoming addicted to drugs, and dropped out of school because of how much I hated who I was and how I looked. Then I realized something that changed my life – I’m a beautiful woman. I’m smart, talented, and loved by my family and friends. I’m kind to people and make others feel good about themselves. I will be successful in life because I love myself and who I am. Is it easy to go from hating yourself to loving yourself? No, of course not. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things someone can do. Thankfully, I found ways to trick myself into believing I was really worth something.

I like to make people laugh, so I would joke around with my friends and say something like: “God, I’m sexy.” It would make everyone laugh because of how direct it was and after a while of saying it over and over again, I started to believe it. I looked in the mirror every morning and forced myself to find one feature I liked about myself. Even if it was something small like: “I think my hair looks nice today.” The more you compliment yourself, the more you believe it and the better you feel. You start to realize that you can make yourself feel good and you don’t need someone else to make you happy. Eventually, my confidence began to shine through. It turned out that men are attracted to a woman with confidence in herself. I flipped my life around completely and became a totally different person once I gained confidence in myself. I got off drugs, got my GED, and now currently work a full-time job as an Administrative Assistant while going to college full-time and maintaining a ‘B’ average.

Girls today need someone to really drill those thoughts into their minds. If girls could gain more confidence in themselves at a younger age, society would find that many problems would lessen greatly. Parents wouldn’t have to be quite as concerned with what their daughters are doing online because a girl who has confidence in herself wouldn’t feel like she had to expose herself to gain attention. Does it take a little bit more effort on the part of the parent? Of course it does, but just think of what that little bit of extra effort could accomplish – raising a daughter who not only believes she has worth, but knows it. For a parent, I couldn’t imagine a better feeling than knowing that your daughter will be happy and successful in what ever she does.

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