Internet addictions don’t seem very likely to some, but Myspace.com is changing that. With over 68 million registered accounts, the Webpage has become the world’s fifth most popular Website.
On the site, there are many features. There are blogs, which are a sort of diary to write in and is posted on your page. There are also sections such as “about me,” “who I’d like to meet,” and “interests.” This tells other people what you like and the type of person you are when they view your profile. You can also upload pictures for everyone to view and comment on. Myspace comes with an email account, bulletins for your friends to see, videos, music, and instant messaging. One of the most addicting aspects of the site is the creation of your profile. You can change your background color, the scrollbar type, the font size and color, and much more.
This Website, however, isn’t as pleasant as it seems. Many crimes have been linked to Myspace. Young teen-agers give out personal information that makes it easy for them to get tracked down and possibly assaulted. Threats of school shootings have also been posted on Myspace accounts. On the Webpage, it is hard to tell fact from fiction.
Tom Anderson, the founder of Myspace, requires a minimum age of 14. The problem is, many of the Myspace users lie about their age and sign up anyway. Some schools and public libraries in the United States and the United Kingdom have tried to restrict access to Myspace because of all the gossip and malicious comments made there. In fact, some private schools have tried to ban Myspace access at home.
When students at Key Peninsula Middle School were asked if they had a Myspace account, over 130 of them said they did.
“I usually spend about four hours a night on Myspace,” said a KPMS eighth-grader. “I think it is addicting because it is the only time I get to spend talking to all of my friends. During school time, you only get to talk a little bit and without Myspace, I would be on the phone for a long time, so my parents actually don’t mind the Webpage. I’d say that some kids do give out too much information on Myspace, but I don’t and most of my friends don’t, either.”
In contrast, a ninth grader at Peninsula High School said: “I am not on Myspace for very long. I’d say for only 30 minutes to an hour. The thing I find most addicting is messaging and picture comments. I do think that teens sometimes give out too much information but I limit mine to my name, age, and the basics. To stay safe, I only add people to my friends list that I know.”
Another KPMS eighth-grade student added, “I am on Myspace from basically the time I get home, until the time I go to bed, which is a long time. I think it’s so addicting because you get to make layouts for your page and you get to customize it exactly how you want it. Also, you can meet new people and stay in touch with your friends. Some teens do give out too much information, which leads to bad things, but I don’t. I think that as long as you’re not putting your last name and what school you go to, it’s fine.”
This Internet site is growing with every new account made. To some adults, it’s a bad place to be because of all the personal information passed around, but to teen-agers, it’s just another place to hang out and talk to their friends. So is it an Internet addiction? The students at KPMS and PHS have confirmed the answer.
Kristie Byrd is an eighth-grade student at KPMS and a member of the school’s student paper, Eye of the Cougar.