The tragic slaying of a popular
Clements High School teen has brought the focus of attention
on one of the most “in” places for young people to meet — My
Space.com — an Internet site that can be likened to the soda
shops of the 50’s, more or less.
While most of the postings by teenagers across the nation
consist of typical teenage chatter, lingo and happy-go-lucky
photos, others use the sites to boast, to show how “cool” or
“hot” they think they are and to exhibit bravado and
rebelliousness at it’s finest. Then there are those who
express the dark side of their personality that may be
hidden to the world on a daily basis, but scream for
attention, on the Web site.
Our son, his friends and now our grandchildren use My
Space and find it informative and a place to share
information, ideas and stay in touch.
Last week it became a place of sharing solace over the
senseless loss of Ashton Glover. It also became a place for
her friends, who logged comments on the Web sites of the two
men accused in her murder, to vent their anger, confusion
I have to admit that as a mother, I visited My Space
before to make sure that those teenage entries did not
expose my son or his friends to predators who sometimes
stalk such Web sites in hopes of finding a vulnerable young
person to take advantage of. Luckily, all I found was fun
information. They had passed the muster.
When parents argue that looking a child’s Web page on
sites such as My Space is an invasion of privacy, I say
bull. If the young person puts stuff on the World Wide Web
for strangers to peruse, it is hardly like sneaking out a
diary from under the mattress to delve into deep and private
For the most part the Web site allows teens to vent,
share and keep in touch with family members and friends. As
the kids age it allows them to stay in contact with high
school friends who have gone away to college and later with
college friends who are now in the workforce. But it is
obvious that some of these young people are troubled by
serious family issues, rejection and anti-social attitudes.
By discovering those potential problems, a parent can and
should intervene to find out what is behind the dark and
sometimes alarming entries and provide the help and guidance
that is needed to address and resolve these issues.
We protect our children when they are toddlers intent on
sticking a hairpin in an electrical socket; we teach them to
look both ways before crossing the street; we set curfews;
meet their friends; set limits on the attire they wear (even
if “everyone” else in the whole world is allowed to wear
that) and generally try and make sure they reach adulthood
as productive members of society with all of their parts
Things have changed drastically in society over the
years. We don’t live in small towns where everyone knows
everyone and snitch on the kids when they cross the
There are sexual predators thousands of miles from the
safety of your home that could zero in on a naÔve youngster.
There are disturbed people, young and old, that use these
avenues to profess all kinds of beliefs, threats and clues
to future problems.
If you haven’t already, be sure to talk to your
youngsters about these issues. In their youth and innocence
many pre-teens and teens wear “rose colored glasses” and
assume that those stories are for others and they are safe
and invincible. With open concern and discussion, most
likely they will invite you to look at their Web site. If
not, tell them you are interested, concerned and plan to
take a look.
Sadly, this week hundreds of local teens are coping with
the tragedy of losing a friend and trying to understand why.
For them the feeling of being invincible is gone forever.