MySpace is No Place for Your Place

June 20, 2006 — 26 Comments

If you haven’t caught on to the MySpace issue, then you’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean. Just check out this post I covered earlier this year to fully understand the issues I have with MySpace. The bottom line for me: no one should have a MySpace. Sorry, but it’s just trash.

You can take a look at a recent news story for more and more proof:

A 16-year-old girl who tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then flew to the Mideast to be with a man she met on MySpace.com has returned to Michigan.
U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded Katherine R. Lester to turn around and go home before she reached the West Bank. Lester arrived at Bishop International Airport in Flint late Friday and was taken to a private area to be reunited with her family.
She disappeared Monday after talking her parents into getting her a passport by saying she was going to Canada with friends, sheriff’s officials said.
She apparently planned to visit a man whose MySpace account describes him as a 25-year-old from Jericho, Undersheriff James Jashinske said.

I will never forget the statement of 18-year-old David Ludwig, a MySpacer, who shot and killed his 14-year-old girlfriend’s parents in cold blood:

“It was an intentional murder, I intended to shoot them, and I did.”

Horrible just can’t describe what happened. I urge you, parent and student, to get rid of your MySpace. Parent, make sure you know what’s happening. Visit friends sites. Know what is being posted. Kids, give up the addiction and get out of the trash. I beg you.

Rebellion grows like wildfire on MySpace.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

26 responses to MySpace is No Place for Your Place

  1. Thanks for a good post. What you report here are the symptoms of a serious problem.

    1) **THE** most common ad I see when I log in on MySpace are web sites to find people interested in casual sex; “It’s nice to be naughty” is the slogan of one of them.
    2) The bulletin posts that many kids post – kids in my Sunday school class or youth group – are either mindless surveys or copied items with “post this in 3 minutes or be single forever.” The language and subjects of these items are often inappropriate.

    I think the bigger problem is that the writers try to use “success” on MySpace as a way to obtain personal significance. On one hand, blogging is inherently a somewhat “exhibitionistic” activity – you want people to read what you write, and that’s just a wee big neurotic in many cases. On the other hand, people who are desperate for some kind of personal contact and affirmation are commonly seen among the MySpace profiles, blogs, and bulletins that I read.

    The search for personal significance is a whole different issue, and, I think, the one that really needs to be addressed. That’s what MySpace and its advertisers (to name only two) are targetting.

  2. Thank you, Agent Tim, for doing a post on MySpace. I was actually on here yesterday to see if you had done something on the subject previously. I couldn’t seem to locate anything. This I’m sure was my fault… I was pleasantly surprised today:) A lot of my friends have a MySpace account ( unknown to their parents) and I’ve tried to warn them about it. If you wouldn’t mind I would like to use the examples you posted today. Thank you!
    I’m a huge fan of your blog… please keep posting!

  3. It’s not the fault of Myspace that a bunch of buffoons are ruining the site. Its the actions of the members. That 16 year-old girl? Is it Myspace’s fault she flew to the middle east, or hers? It is hers. People need to start assigning responsibility where it belongs. Not on Myspace, the advertisers, but on the people who are acting in a way compleatly devoid of common sense.

  4. These stories make me so sad. I also wonder what happened to good ole’ common sense.

  5. I’m sorry to say this but this is not MySpace’s fault. You cannot complain if the site is free. The 16-year old girl could have done the same thing on a number of free website/blog sites.

    MySpace has shaped and formed into a haven for teens and unfortunately sexual predators, but the fault cannot be solely on MySpace.

    The 16-year old girl was very very foolish for doing such a thing. Also the parents of this girl should monitor more closely what websites their children visit.

    I agree with Kaitlin – Myspace is not to blame here but the one who is guilty of dangerous folly, namely the girl and in part – her parents.

  6. I have a MySpace. I don’t see what’s so great about it, but it sure has gotten me in touch with many old friends. I don’t think MySpace is the root of all these problem, although I suppose it does have some bad influences in some ways. It’s just the crazy teens (I’m a teen, but hopefully without the crazy..heh) that listen to other people so easily… Biggest rule for me: I only add people I know and it’s not a popularity contest for “most friends.”

  7. Tim, I see your point here, and for the most part I agree with you. However, the reason this horrible incident happened is not the fault of myspace.com. It’s the fault of the participants in this story–every single one of them, including the parents, the murderer, and the girl.

    And for that matter, myspace is not all bad. The huge music section is really quite helpful. If used for the right reasons, anything can be a good thing if used correctly. Even myspace.

    What the girl did was wrong. She tricked her parents. Her parents are, in some ways, also at fault for not monitoring her activities.

  8. There’s three things to blame here: the kids, the parents, and the webste. Here’s what I wrote January on MySpace:

    For Christians, MySpace poses a huge problem for teens. It is not only a threat to your safety, but a trash dump with bad ads and bad people.

    “There is ample research to suggest that disclosing secrets or talking about strong emotions improves physical and psychological health,” says James C. Hamilton, associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama. “Teenagers are typically very concerned about appearance and reputation, and these blogs and online discussions allow teenagers and children a sort of intimacy in conversation and communication with others that preserves their anonymity in ways that face to face conversations can’t.”

    In other words, conversations on these blogs are candid, deep, and can show the “real you.” These blogs lead you to complain about your parents, share, rant, show joy, and cuss. It’s a community–a community of growing teens lacking in adult experience or maturity and freaks who are trying to stalk the kids.

    Teens equals disaster when they gather together in one place where no one is encouraged to be the best that they can be morally. Girl/Boy relationships many times start there, and when you think back to the beginning of this post, that is not usually a good thing.

    The Bible tells us that “Bad company corrupts good character.” We are to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

    These blogs can be a danger to the health of teens, as we’ve seen, providing a teen hang out, which always equals some type of trouble.

    When we ignore what the Bible says–He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm–we’re going to end up with serious problems. There has to be a reason for schools blocking MySpace and reasons for parents becoming alarmed.

    Of course, the arguement is then they “could have done the same thing on a number of free website/blog sites.” But let’s remember something–blogger and other free blog sites ads aren’t quite the same. They aren’t working to provide a trash dump.

    If you have more arguments against this stand, call 206-888-4STR and leave your comment. I’m going to be doing a special “Answer to your question” show. Don’t worry, I’ll have no clue what your phone number is or who you are (well, you could say you’re first name). I’d really appreciate it.

  9. Hello Tim,
    While I agree with you that myspace is utterly full of garbage, I hate to see you blame a domain name. I think we both would agree that the only reason myspace is like it is is because of the people on it. And that goes both ways. Myspace can be used for a good purpose, just like a blog can. It can be used to spread total filth or it can be used to spread a light. But that is not about the website. Myspace has given many people a very powerful networking tool, for others, a site to post disgusting pictures or stories, but in the end it is the people, not the website.
    -Josh

  10. Tim,

    Isn’t the whole internet, TV, movies generalized by some as “providing a trash dump?”

    The main thing here is discernment. There will always be places, pictures, and people that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    I agree with you that MySpace is a trash dump along with other places, but it would do well to point the finger on the heart of the issue which is really discernment.

  11. I totally agree with Patrick here. I’m not saying that bad things can’t happen on MySpace, but it is 100% good judgement that is the issue, and MySpace can’t be blamed for the stupidity of its users.

    Tim, I do agree with you that MySpace is not necessarily a good option, but for other reasons than the remark of some murderer who chanced to have a MySpace account, or some immature girl with no discernment who lied to her parents and flew to the mideast to meet some man. These examples say nothing against MySpace.

    The issue that I see with MySpace is that colleges and potential employers will make decisions about you based on who’s on you friends’ friends list. This happens all the time and is mainly why I deleted my account.

  12. Tim, I think that what is happening on MySpace is a result of a larger problem. As an adult who ministers to college students in my home church, I have a Myspace. It’s a wonderful tool to connect with students who have moved away to college, or to be available if they have a prayer request or if life is a struggle.

    I also grieve over many of the things I have seen on MySpace, especially among girls who are really too young to understand that there are crazy people in the world who look to confuse and abuse young girls who are vulnerable.

    We need God. In our families. In our lives. In our nation. We need to understand the sanctity of relationships, and sex, and have families where teens matter. Those are the issues.

    But I do appreciate you taking the time to share your views. They are always honest and that’s a very cool thing,

    Suzanne Eller, author of Real Teens, Real Stories, Real Life

  13. There will be a follow-up article or blog post to this. Either way, I will be following up. But I am wondering–did any of you read this post?

  14. Tim,

    I read the blog that you wondered if anyone had read.

    You can’t blame a website for people’s sin. People have been lured and abused via the telephone, does that mean that no one should use a phone? There are a lot of things that are to be blamed with stories like you cited. What about the parents? What about the kid? What about the man? There are some serious issues. But if there’s a murderer, or a runaway, not being apart of Myspace is not going to keep them from sinning.

    “For Christians, MySpace poses a huge problem for teens. It is not only a threat to your safety, but a trash dump with bad ads and bad people.”

    Tim, this statement is really out of line. You judge Christians who are a part of Myspace and then call them bad people. You must be more careful with your language. Myspace has all of the problems and dangers of the internet. Christian’s must be willing to bring those things under the Lordship of Christ. Yes, one can use Myspace to the glory of God.

  15. ““For Christians, MySpace poses a huge problem for teens. It is not only a threat to your safety, but a trash dump with bad ads and bad people.”

    Tim, this statement is really out of line. You judge Christians who are a part of Myspace and then call them bad people. You must be more careful with your language. Myspace has all of the problems and dangers of the internet. Christian’s must be willing to bring those things under the Lordship of Christ. Yes, one can use Myspace to the glory of God. ”

    Ken,

    I read the article and you’re taking Tim out of context. He’s saying it’s not SAFE for Christians to be there because of the people and ads, he’s not calling Christians “bad people” for being on there.

    Tim,

    I concur! with all the stories out recently I’m VERY glad I don’t use Myspace :)

    KP

  16. I agree with the other commenters that a domain name should not be blamed for the trash posted on it. I also agree that the 16 year old who tried to travel to the Middle East to meet a man off myspace should have taken responsibility for her actions. Myspace should not be blamed for her idiotic decision.
    However, I believe a large part of the reason Myspace has become so trash-filled is because of weak parenting. Since many parents compare reading their teen’s blog to reading a diary–and consider it a violation of their teen’s privacy–there are no checks and balances to insure that these myspacers are using the internet safely.

  17. Interesting topic! I have to admit that I have a difficult time admiring Myspace. I have an account there just to keep in touch with some friends. I have no picture and the most basic information on myself. And in a short time of signing up I received some really weird messages. To me it’s no big deal, just delete and go on with life. However there are kids who are naive and who have naive parents (definitely something that’s not in the minority these days, unfortunately) who respond and start cyber relationships with these freaks. That is scary. There’s too much innocent trust being invested into something that can not be trustworthy.

    Thanks for sharing your views on it. I hope that some of these people will hear your plea. It’s not safe to play with fire.

  18. Tim,
    To some extent, I agree with you. I personally think that it’s a waste of time. I used to have one, and got rid of it because of that.

    That said, I do think we need to make some distinctions here. MySpace is not inherently evil. I went back and read your other posts. But I still don’t see where MySpace has any more of an issue with this, than a blog. I’ve seen some horrendous blogspots, (that my filter should have blocked) but all the same, I still have my blog. I think, and I believe someone has identified this already, that it all depends on the motivation, and one other key thing. Wisdom. You have to make sure that you use wisdom. Sure, MySpace has trash on it, but so does the rest of the internet.

    Once again, I don’t really care for MySpace, and think that most of the time, it’s a waste of time. But I don’t see it as inherently sinful, and I don’t believe that those who use it are “fools”.

    Just my 0.000002 cents, (adjusted for inflation =))

  19. I agree that MySpace itself is not the root of the problem. We are all responsible for our own actions. However, MySpace certainly has seemed to _help_ the problem(s). It certainly has done nothing to _prevent_ the problems.

    Parenting and the teens themselves is the main problem, but I think that MySpace has facilitated what has happened. It is definitely more “userfriendly” in that way than, say, Xanga. But I don’t think it’s _evil_.

    ~~Alessandra

  20. I`m afraid I`m going to have to go with Tim here.While not ALL the responsibility is to be put on MySpace.com ,we must recognize that it has a huge part in whats going on.I myself ue to have a MySpace.I thought I could use it to be a witness to others.A few times I had people actually tahnk me for being a light in the darkness on MySpace.In the beginning it was okay.Nothing bad really happening.Then the ads got worse and the hacking of accounts to promote porn and dating services got to me.These people are promoting immorality and a culture without God.Its a perfect place for stockers and sick perverts to hunt after girls like the one in the report.Yes,teens can`t be foolish and parents need to play a more active role in their kids lives.But MySpace itself promotes these things.It`s just a bad place to be.As christians its unwise to put your self in a possition where one can stumble or fall.I got our of there before I stumbled across something that would stick to my head.I`m glad I did and don`t recommend MySpace for anyone…

  21. Moriah Strickland September 29, 2006 at 4:55 PM

    I used to use Myspace. Unfortunatly I did it behind my parents backs. Well, to make a long story short, They found out and I got in some serious trouble. Thankfully I learned from my mistakes.
    I agree with you Tim, Myspace is nothing but trash. Unfortunatly, I had to find that out the hard way.
    So thanks, Tim, this post was a great encouragement to me. Keep it up!

  22. i complete agree with what you saying. MySpace is soo dangerous and many young people are using it and getting into trouble and putting their lifes at risk. I think what you are doing and you having this site is great and i support you 100%

  23. Unfortunately for all of us, the Myspace controversy isn’t clear-cut enough to solve in one blog post. I’ve found it both an excellent tool for communication–staying in touch with long-distance friends, for example– and a slight annoyance (as a sixteen-year-old high school student, I hear about it all the time; frankly, I would delete it if so many of my friends didn’t use it. Not for security reasons, but because it’s a time-waster… but that isn’t my point.)

    As some other readers have mentioned, Myspace can’t be blamed for what goes on in the bulletins and messages; though they do, I suppose, allow it to happen, they are not forcing any members to become stalker targets. I’ll use myself as an example; my profile is set to “private”, so only my friends can see me, and my personal information is limited to my age, state, and first name. No problems yet.

    The problem with Myspace is the same problem the Internet has, only condensed; it is easy for those with ill motives to find undiscerning users’ information. That cannot be solved by forbidding people from getting accounts; that will only exacerbate the problem. Myspace, at least, is somewhat faciliated; if kids are desperate for connections, and are obviously more likely to use the easiest method available, it is better that they use something like Myspace, which at least has privacy settings and the ability to use discretion. In my opinion, it’s a lot better than sites like craigslist.com, which, though informative if you’re wishing to buy or sell household items, also feautres blatant requests for sexual favors.

    Sorry if this post rambled.

  24. i agree that MySpace is a waste of valuable time that one could spend doing other more important things but i don’t think that MySpace is completely wrong either. i don’t actually have a MySpace account, i’m more of a Bebo person but i do know several people on MySpace, and though it’s easy to be sucked into these things like MySpace and Bebo and i’m very careful about who i talk to and associate with on the site and my parents set me a time that i can spend per day.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Eric’s Musings » Blog Archive » My Take on MySpace - August 31, 2006

    [...] I recently read a post on Agent Tim Online about some of the problems that have arisen as a result of MySpace use. While the post was interesting, it was lacking in solid evidence. The examples he used to show why MySpace was “just trash” were the recent news story about the sixteen-year-old girl who tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then sneaked a flight to the Middle East so that she could meet a man she encountered on MySpace, and the remarks of David Ludwig, an “eighteen-year-old MySpacer” who murdered his girlfriend’s parents. [...]

  2. Sola » Blog Archive » The Beauty of Blogging - October 5, 2007

    [...] *Cough* I believe that AgentTim Online has eloquently presented the reasons for staying away from such social networking [...]

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