Lisa Lerer of Forbes was nice enough to do a feature story this week about my views on the panic over social networking and the push for age verification of such sites. Her piece is entitled “Why MySpace is a Safe Space,” and begins as follows: “Adam Thierer doesn’t look like much of a revolutionary. But last month he challenged both Washington and conventional wisdom with a fairly radical proposition: Perhaps MySpace and the Internet aren’t so scary for kids, after all.”
I don’t really regard what I’ve been saying in my recent essays or big new PFF study as “revolutionary.” Rather, if you spend any time studying this issue and these sites in a dispassionate, educated way, I think the conclusions I draw seem quite reasonable. Unfortunately, I don’t think many policy makers or critics have spent any serious time on these sites or seriously explored the relative danger of online social networking sites relative to offline social networking places. A classic “moral panic” has developed because of this: An older generation fears a new medium that it does not use or understand.
Anyway, read my discussion with Lisa for more details.