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Danger in the Cyberspace

By: Alex Zequeira
By: Alex Zequeira

Instant messaging and e-mail were not the only ways to chat online. It is called MySpace and it is been a big hit among teens and younger adults. Users can post pictures and bios on personal web pages that can be accessed by virtually anyone who is a member, including sexual predators.

Lee Ann Boykin received an e-mail from a stranger who saw her profile on MySpace Web site. She posted a picture of herself with 40 other people in it.

"It really scared me that people who might be looking for somebody, to like them or think they were attractive or something would have jumped at the chance to respond," said Boykin.

The online forum has gathered over 57 million registered user and many of them young teens. Without knowing sex predators may solicit those children.

Lindsay Williams is a teen user for MySpace knows the danger of the cyberspace.

"Don't talk to anybody that you don't know, because you don't know how many weirdos are out there" said Willams.

MySpace is a free and anyone can register, share information or create a fake profile to fool others.

Dothan law enforcement officials have been keeping an eye on forums like MySpace and a similar sight called Xange

Sgt. Stacy Robinson with the Dothan Police Department said even the slightest detail in a person's profile or pictures can tip sex offenders and criminals off and help them to locate a certain individual.

"Things that seem harmless, you know they're not giving out their actual address or their phone number, but they're giving out information that a savvy predator can use to back track and find out exactly where they're at and who they are."

Authorities also say that when using MySpace people should remember that what they are really doing is publishing an online personal that can be read by anyone in the world.

According to Neilsen ratings, MySpace enjoyed a 752 percent growth in Web traffic over the last year.

Users say that those who register have an option of making their profile private, meaning that no one can access their information without permission. However, the option must be checked when they first register.


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