Library’s not the place to dawdle on MySpace
Any service, no matter how horrible, can end up used by the majority because of peer pressure. This is the case of MySpace, which is horrible when compared to other other services like it but still is used because of peer pressure and popularity. In fact, MySpace is just those other services plus ads minus many features and with a fancy name. The other services include just plain blogs, e-mail and instant messaging.
The Kailua Public Library's few resources are being wasted on teenagers because it lets them go on MySpace. The computers were meant for research, not for kids chatting their heads off with some child predator. One incident involving MySpace was a massive party in 2005 in Durham, U.K., where a single invitation on a teenage girl's MySpace page resulted in a exodus to her parents' house. The partygoers broke things and left urine, condoms and broken glass around. The ransack only stopped after a police canine unit arrived. The entire incident caused more than $50,000 in damage. Do we want the public library to be the source of such disasters?
MySpace also exposes the library's computers to thousands of security risks. It is a breeding and testing ground for viruses and worms (faster viruses that can spread though a shared Internet connection). For example, one of the fastest-spreading worms of all time spread though a bug in MySpace. It infected 70 percent of MySpace in four days! Besides viruses, "phishing," leading to identity theft, is a problem on MySpace.
Why should library users wait for an hour watching someone go on MySpace? This leniency is preventing work, research and homework from being done by more responsible teens and adults.
MySpace also slows down the Internet connection, with dozens of flash animations, sounds, ads and pictures simultaneously choking the connection. According to the W3C, an organization that created many Internet standards, the homepage alone has 115 broken requirements for stability and speed!
If library policy were enforced, MySpace would be blocked. According to the policy, video and audio downloads are disallowed, so just merely going on to MySpace pushes it because of the ads. No games, audio or potentially damaging activities are allowed. Also, it is impossible for anyone under 14 to register for a MySpace account without breaking federal law because of the need for personal information when registering. And one study showed that MySpace increased the chance of accidentally seeing pornographic material by 16 percent. Even with a filter, some X-rated material still can get through.
Sure, taxpayers paid for the library and deserve freedom, but there are better services out there. Other sites are safer, offer tech support, have fewer ads and bugs, and have more features. Some of the better sites include WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, BlogFlux and Microsoft Live Spaces.
Why let all of this happen to a public resource? I demand that all public libraries block MySpace at once to stop this menace. MySpace is a problem that is kept alive only by peer pressure. The site is financially supported by "mindless youths and adults," according to Brad Greenspan, CEO of MySpace's founding company.
Make a choice -- ban MySpace or follow the flock in jumping off MySpace Hill.
Gerard Dabu is a seventh-grader at Kailua Intermediate School.
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