A new study about teens who talk about teen sex on MySpace, and other risky behaviours in their MySpace profiles and pages, has found that if someone in a position of authority, such as a doctor, who is also on MySpace, contacts them about the risky behaviour being discussed, they may stop talking about it on MySpace.
According to Dr. Megan Moreno, who conducted and reported on the study, there are “risks associated with the public display of information related to sex, substance use and violence.”
Moreno and her team identified dozens of MySpace users between the ages of 18 and 20 who had made references to risky behaviours on their MySpace pages, including references to sex, violence, and substance abuse.
Then they contacted them by email, using a “Dr. Meg” MySpace profile, and advised them about just how risky talking about the risky behaviours can be.
“It could attract unwanted attention from sexual predators or jeopardize future employment prospects as more and more potential employers seek online information about job candidates,” explained Moreno.
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Three months after the email had been sent, all references to sex in the identified profiles had disappeared in nearly 14% of the profiles (as compared to just 5.3% in similar profiles, the owners of which had not been contacted.) References to substance abuse had disappeared in 26% of the contacted profiles, compared to 22% of the non-contacted user profiles.
So what does this tell us?
Not, we think, as Dr. Moreno suggests, that “a single warning email from a doctor may decrease those references” to risky behaviours, but rather this:
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86% of MySpace users don’t give a damn if their open discussion of their sexual exploits on MySpace could come back to bite them in the future, nor do nearly 3/4s of the users who openly talk about substance abuse.
On the other hand, 14% of teen MySpace users who had openly talked about their sex life were so creeped out to realize that some old doctor was reading about their sexploits on MySpace, that they stopped talking about it – on MySpace.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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