Popular Web Site Kicks Off Thousands Of Registered Sex Offenders - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/16/07-Tyler

Popular Web Site Kicks Off Thousands Of Registered Sex Offenders

In an effort to keep its underage users safe, the popular networking web site has removed and blocked a few thousand convicted sex offenders.  Local Authorities say Myspace may have taken a step in the right direction, but that doesn't mean your child is safe.  

There are 170 million Myspace users and hundreds of thousands more every day.  It's no question Myspace is the largest social networking web site available.  Kelly Clarida's 19 year old daughter is one of the millions logging on.

"I've looked into what the kids do, you know how they talk, how they make comments on each other's accounts, send pictures and stuff like that," said Kelly Clarida, who's daughter uses Myspace. Since news began of sexual predators using sites like Myspace, Kelly makes sure she looks closely at who her daughter is talking to, but she says the fear of predators is still there.

"I think more than anything it's just people showing up and appearing to be someone that they are not, and her trusting them," said Clarida.  Sergeant Mike Hyko with Longview's Cyber Crime's Unit says he's glad my space has identified registered sex offenders, but he says who's to stop the offenders from opening a new profile in a fake name.

"I don't want parents to think that this is a comfort zone now, that everything is safe on Myspace because those are just registered sex offenders," said Sergeant Mike Hyko of Longview's Cyber Crime Unit.  "We have more predators out there that haven't been caught." Another problem Hyko says are the dozens of other sites that pop up every day.

"There are probably, I think last count 30 different blogs that people use besides Myspace," said Hyko. "Every time I talk to kids they talk to me about two or three new ones that I haven't heard about." In the end, Hyko says it comes down to parents, like Kelly who know what their children are doing on the Internet.

"I can see they have a great time on it, you know sharing pictures and communicating, but as a parent teenagers are too naive at this point," said Clarida. "You have to be careful."  Attorney general's from eight states have requested the names of the registered sex offenders Myspace removed from it's web site.  Myspace, however, is refusing to turn them over because of federal and state laws. Sergeant Hyko says it's not illegal for most sex offenders to be on my space unless their probation prohibits them.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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