Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

January 18, 2007

Whatever Happened To Parental Responsibility ?

by Doug Mataconis

Today, it was reported that four families have filed lawsuits against the parent company of MySpace because their children were targeted by adults they met online:

NEW YORK — Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday.

The law firms, Barry & Loewy LLP of Austin, Texas, and Arnold & Itkin LLP of Houston, said families from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina filed separate suits Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence, recklessness, fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the companies.

“In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users,” said Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer.

The families are seeking monetary damages “in the millions of dollars,” Itkin said.

“Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere,” he said.

What about the actions that the parents of these girls should have taken to begin with ? Is it really responsible for any parent to allow their child to have unrestricted, unsupervised access to the Internet ?

There is no excuse for what happened to these girls, but that doesn’t mean that a website is responsible for the fact that there are perverts in the world, or for the fact that parents still don’t seem to understand that it makes no more sense to give kids unlimited access to the Internet than it does to leave the door to your house wide open on a Friday night.

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