I am on Facebok, so are three of my four children. Last night we were having dinner and my two daughters ages 17 and 15 kept talking about older guys who frequently try to connect to them on Facebook, invite them on dates and so on. From the way they spoke about them they sounded as if they were being spammed and I could see that I had not much to worry about as they just ignored them. Still just like I don´t like the thought of 35 year old guys hitting on my daughters on the street, I am quite uncomfortable about the same guys being able to hit on my daughters on Facebook. I like to think that my daughters party with kids their age which for a 17 year old I would consider anyone between 15 and 22. In Europe, where I live, it is not illegal for a 35 year old man to go out with a 17 year old girl as it is in the States. The concept of statutory rape does not exist over here and I think that overall we are better off for that since nothing magical happens when people turn 18 and rape in my view has to include some lack of consent.  So without going as far as coming up with an artificial concept such as “statutory rape on Facebook”,  should Facebook monitor older men and women who are frequently contacting minors and flag them? I think they should. Of course older people could lie about their age, or put fake pictures, but Facebook already has rules about this type of deception and if somebody is found lying about their identity in Facebook they can get thrown out of the community. During my conversations with Chris Kelly at Facebook I found out that thousands are banished every week. Still this does not address the whole issue. Personally the way I would do this is to give an easy way for minors to flag potential molesters. Right now this is not clear. A minor who feels molested can block or report this person but in the main reasons to report the molester there is no one clear category which is “this person is molesting me”. In my view if older men or women clearly understood that they are risking getting banned from Facebook if they try to hit on a 15 year old girl or boy my daughters and everyone else´s children would not be so frequently contacted by older men/women.   Another idea could be that anyone who is a minor appears with a clear indication that they are minors to anyone who is older than say, Mark Zuckerberg´s age.  In this way both minors would be protected and older people warned.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Martín Alejandro Carmona Selva on November 21, 2007  · 

I’m one old fashioned guy. I have my website and I’m happy with that. I’m in facebook -and in tagged and in hi5, and,,,- but I rarely use them!-

I do prefer email to facebook -contraty to what Tom thinks- and I’d like jabber a lot more than msn.

Yesterday, I found this article by Bill Thomsom in BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7101637.stm) he explains how insecure facebook and all the other stuff.

It took me four seconds to guess my partner facebook password, once there, I was able to do anything I wanted.

If anyone gets any of my passwords they won’t be able to do much with it. But that’s not the point, the point here is that we are trusting lots of information to people -organizations- we barely know, We trust them just because everyone else does. So, you’ll be able to know the color of the underwear of my partner by her facebook, but, how does she knows nobody’s using this for other purposes ‘non sanctos’?.

Well we don’t know. We hope they won’t be we can’t know for sure. So, and as the article says, I doesn’t hope facebook -or any other online service- to keep my data as I’d like to do. But, for sure, I know what code lies on my website, so, I can trust it.

I don’t know, I guess we can’t wait facebook to stop pedophiles, we must do something ourselves -like teaching our kids- that they shouldn’t trust anything online… [or, at least, take their privacy and data integrity as granted]

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Samdog565 on August 15, 2008  · 

What would you think if your daughters (19, and 14) told you that a man that used to come to our church had asked them to be his friend on facebook? They do not know him very wellk, and he is over 55 year old. Our daughters told him no. ‘They do not know him very well and thought it was creepy. As their Mom and as a Teacher for over 20 years — this seems to send up a RED FLAG. What are your thoughts.

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