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Net-savvy Boys & Girls Club

Faced with the decision to ban after-school social networking or not, a San Francisco Boys & Girls Club went with not. There’s a story behind this that CNET tells. After “two teenagers from rival schools used MySpace after school … to ‘cyberbully’ other kids,” the Mission District BCGA decided to join a few other Bay-area Boys & Girls Clubs in banning MySpace. Then the Mission District youth center changed its mind. Somehow, it got what a lot of politicians don’t yet see – that, on the user-driven Web, rules, bans, and laws only really reach those willing to comply, whether they’re kids or corporations. This is true with music file-sharing too, that noncompliant young people, Web sites, and companies (both in and outside the US, of course) find work-arounds. The Mission District’s BCGA’s tech director told CNET that they realized their young members would just log into MySpace elsewhere, so better to educate them about how to use the site safely – as well as establish rules for safe use and human monitoring of online activity. If I can editorialize here, that’s the safer choice for teen social networkers, whether parents, youth centers, or governments are making the decision.

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