March 11, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. — The social network MySpace has removed the online profiles of 179 registered sex offenders from Missouri since Nov. 1, Attorney General Jay Nixon said today.
Nixon and other Attorneys General have been working with MySpace for nearly two years to increase protections for young children and teenagers from online predators. The states pushed for changes after sexual predators repeatedly used the site to victimize children. As a result, MySpace has instituted a policy of deleting the name of any user it identifies as a sex offender; that account information is then forwarded to Nixon’s office.
“This has been a nationwide effort to protect kids that is getting results,” Nixon said. “MySpace has implemented several recommendations from the Attorneys General and from online safety advocates. We will continue our efforts so that not only are the profiles of sex offenders deleted, but also that MySpace and other social networking sites make significant strides to improve age and identity verification. We are working with MySpace to set the industry standard for protecting children from predators and inappropriate online content.”
Nixon’s work with MySpace has resulted in his office turning over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol the names of 867 individuals whose MySpace profiles matched those of registered Missouri sex offenders. The Attorney General has asked the Patrol to examine the data to look for parole violations by offenders who may be barred from using a computer or from contacting minors.
Nixon stressed the importance of parents monitoring their kids’ activities on the Internet, and of their reporting to law enforcement any suspicious activity they encounter.
“Parents still are the most important measure in protecting children from dangers online,” Nixon said. “They should actively monitor their kids’ online activities and talk to them frequently about the potential hazards on the Internet.”