is the VOA Special English Health Report.
say more than half of young people who use MySpace often discuss high-risk behaviors.
Two studies of the social networking site recently appeared in the Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
In one study, researchers examined the
pages of five hundred eighteen-year-olds from the United States. They found
that forty-one percent of the profiles chosen at random included information
about alcohol or drug use. Twenty-four percent discussed sexual behavior. And
fourteen percent included discussion of violence.
people who said they were active in religious groups, sports or other interests
were less likely to discuss risky behaviors.
the second study, the researchers read the MySpace profiles of about one
hundred ninety individuals. All said they were eighteen to twenty years old. Each
person discussed high-risk behaviors.
of the researchers was Megan Moreno, now at the University of Wisconsin. Doctor
Moreno sent a message to half the young people. Her e-mail suggested that they
change their profiles. She also warned them about the risk of sharing personal
fourteen percent of those receiving the e-mail removed information on sexual
behavior. Among individuals who did not receive a message, about five percent
later removed such information.
In the United States, about half of all young people
use social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.
Doctor Dimitri Christakis at Seattle Children's
Hospital worked on the research. He says parents have a responsibility to know
what their children are doing on the Internet.
On February third, the
top law enforcement officials in Connecticut and North Carolina announced some
news about MySpace. MySpace told them it has identified and removed about
ninety thousand registered sex offenders from its site in the last two years. These
people were found guilty of crimes that require them to be publicly listed as
sex offenders. The number is forty thousand more than MySpace has reported in
The officials in Connecticut and North
Carolina lead a group of state attorneys general who are seeking to make social
networks safer. Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal said many other offenders may
be using sites under false names and ages. A spokeswoman for North Carolina's
Roy Cooper, Noelle Talley, says Facebook has not yet answered a demand for
And that's the VOA Special English
Health Report. I'm Steve Ember.