It’s been a weird week in the world of MySpace fear and i actually had the opportunity to watch a full cycle. On February 15, Alexis Beyer and Alexandra Dimarco disappeared and their parents went to the media to find them. They were completely and utterly convinced that they were abducted because of their use of MySpace. Beyer’s mother went so far as to say, “if I’m wrong about this whole thing, I’m willing to become the laughingstock of the city.” When folks at MySpace got wind of what was going on, they contacted the police to help in any way possible. Through IP logs, they found that the girls had not logged in for many days before their disappearance. Their profiles were filled with information about how they loved each other; they marked themselves as bisexual. The police were convinced that they simply ran away, angering their mothers. The mothers were scheduled to appear on numerous national TV shows when the two girls were found. They had run away. One came back voluntarily but the other was brought back forcibly.
Nothing has been written in the media exclaiming that the teens are safe.
Nothing has been written in the media to correct the link to MySpace.
I’m curious by what i don’t know. Did the mothers truly believe that it was MySpace or did they believe that screaming foul play due to MySpace would make the media broadcast their teens’ faces? If the teens didn’t log in for a week before their disappearance, can we assume that they were blocked from accessing the site by their parents? Dimarco’s mom indicated that she kept her daughter off her blog because older men would contact her, noting that her daughter would log in whenever possible on other computers. Reading between the lines of what i know, things don’t add up.
This makes me sad on many levels. My sad suspicion is that those kids are hurting and if one of them had to be brought home forcibly, i’m guessing she’s hurting pretty badly. I’m sad because i think that the mothers are either clueless of or the cause of the hurt; i’m hoping the former, but in either case, they probably don’t have a close relationship. And i’m sad by the media and the ongoing demonization of youth public places, particularly MySpace.
Many teens are frustrated by the press’ account of their behavior, but they have no voice. They are frustrated by their parents’ fear, but they have no power. Parents are scared, and their fear is misguided. There are more actions against minors in San Francisco on a daily basis than there have ever been in the 3-year history of MySpace. More and more cases are failing to pan out. Yet, there are more kids on MySpace than in any single state. I wish i knew how to reach out to parents and say, “It’s OK… your kids will be OK… just teach them trust and love.” In statistical terms, MySpace is safer than going to school. It is safer than being in a car with your parents. It is safer than going to the mall. And yet, we are more scared because we don’t understand it and we’re afraid. This makes me so sad because this kind of fear is anxiety producing and culturally dangerous. 🙁