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Most kids see Facebook as a way to keep in touch with friends, to see what their peers are up to and to even post funny pictures and quotes. To parents, Facebook is a safer version of MySpace and it doesn’t cross their mind that even though Facebook is only five years old and has “new and improved safety regulations” it is still a safe haven for over a thousand sex offenders.
On December 2, 2009 a 19 year-old named Anthony Stancl was given fifteen years in prison for creating a Facebook account under the allusion that he was a teenage girl. He blackmailed 31 high school students to perform sexual activities with him. And get this; there are over 100 more cases just like this.

Crimes like Anthony Stancl’s have obviously caused an up roar in the social networking world and have set a chain reaction leading administrators of websites to keep a closer watch on suspicious activity. But even though people can have their accounts deleted or banned from certain websites, they can just as easily create a new account under a different name.

Facebook to most people is a safer version of MySpace. But what most people don’t know is that even though people are banned from a certain website doesn’t mean that their accounts on other websites have. CNET’s Caroline McCarthy says that
sex offenders are more likely to have multiple networking accounts then just one. Networking websites open up a whole new door to access victims of sex offenders.
Michael Tracey, a professor at the University of Colorado, asked a class of his one day if they had watched the previous nights NewsHour, a show on PBS, or had read the New York Times that morning. A few people raised their hand. Then, one of his classmates told him to ask the class to raise their hand if they had a Facebook account, he did. Everyone in the class raised their hands. The student then told him to ask if they had used Facebook this morning, again, everyone raised their hands. So as “studies” show, Facebook is more important to most kids then the daily news. How can something so common be so dangerous?

It’s not my decision whether you’ll be safer on the Internet or on social networking websites. I, myself, am a Facebook user, so I’m not trying to tell you to delete your account and completely isolate yourself from your computer. What I’m trying to tell you is to watch what you post. If you don’t want anyone to read it, don’t write it. If you don’t want someone to look at a “rather revealing” photo, don’t upload it. And if you don’t want someone to look into your life, don’t post it. Period.





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