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Sex Offenders Banned From Social Networking

No one likes the idea of sex offenders lurking around online communities. Thus, Illinois has passed a law that will make it a felony for registered sex offenders to use sites like Facebook or MySpace. One state lawmaker explained:

The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance.

While there's no doubt that sexual predators can use the Internet as a tool to find victims, it seems like this law could raise civil rights concerns. Do you think it should be a felony for already-convicted sex offenders to use social networking sites in an otherwise lawful manner?

Actually, whether or not there are laws making it criminal for them to log on might not make any difference. Last year, 49 state attorney generals got Facebook to agree to identify and remove profiles of all registered sex offenders.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 7 years
I agree with the law. I agree with mamasitamalita up there, and lolita. They will use the social networking sites to continue their crimes. And like lolta said its even more dangerous than being on the street. You would have to be kidding to defend the sex offenders. I bet those bringing up that weak argument wouldn't hold up signs for the poor sex offenders to use facebook on a street corner in Washington would they? You have to take a side. Parents don't need more to worry about. The children are more important.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
@10 There's a really easy way to keep perverts away from underage kids. It's this crazy thing called "responcible parenting" and "monitoring your child's internet useage". The government and social networking sites SHOULD NOT be doing the parenting. It's really not that hard to tell your kids "be wary of who you talk to on the internet" and "only date people you can see irl" in ways that they can understand.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I don't like this law. While I agree that social networking makes it easier for sex offenders to contact people they're not allowed to... it just seems a bit over the top. A lot of them have families and friends (believe it or not), and a lot of things that can get someone labled as a "sex offender" aren't really predatory, but more mistakes. Like an 18-year-old high school senior dating a freshman and they have consentual sex, and the parents find out and charge the boyfriend. Despite the consent, it's still rape, and the guy has his life ruined. A drunk college chick has sex with a guy, then regrets it in the morning. Case for rape. I think the label is given to too many people. Legit "break into house and rape you" or "I thought this 5-year-old looked 20" and the like deserve the title, but there are a lot of people that can make it to the lists that don't. It's already hard for a sex offender to get a job, or a house/appartment or really anything, and even though some of them are terrible people, others are normal people who made a mistake or didn't do anything really "wrong". Their whole lives are taken away, why ban something that can be legit'ly ok?
mermei mermei 7 years
These sites already ban sex offenders privately; why do we need the government stepping in to add a layer of criminality? Especially since the category of "sex offender" is so unbelievably broad.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
"In some states it is illegal to have oral sex. In some states two men having sex is illegal." Um, no, this isn't correct at all. First of all, this law doesn't apply to "some states," it applies only to Illinois. Second, even if there are "some states" with those laws still on the books, anyone prosecuted under them would have their conviction overturned (and the entire law struck down as unconstitutional) under Lawrence v. Texas.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
"You don't have to sleep with a minor." Be sure to ask to see the ID of anyone you sleep with AND verify that it's not a fake! Of course the best course of action is to be entirely law-abiding, but do we really want to live in a society where one relatively small misstep (obviously I am not talking about the rapists and child molesters here) gives the government the right to control your life?
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I agree with Anonymous 8:01. You don't have to sleep with a minor.
PirateKitty PirateKitty 7 years
I agree Chouluette, I could easily have been labeled as a sex offender and so could a lot of people who are in no way sexual predators. Sometimes things as minor as skinny dipping could do you in. In some states it is illegal to have oral sex. In some states two men having sex is illegal. I REALLY think there needs to be different classifications of sex offenders. I do not think it's fair to put child molesters and rapists in the same category as people who have gotten caught having sex in public or consensual sex with slight age differences.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
The biggest issue here is that the sex offender registry has a lot of people who aren't much of a threat to society and some of the restrictions and proposed restrictions like this one are too strict considering the crimes of some of the people on the registry. Yes, breaking the law has consequences, but the magnitude of those consequences should be proportionate to the crime. If you get a speeding ticket for driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone, should the government be able to take away your driver's license forever? I mean, you DID commit a crime by making the decision to speed, and criminals can have their rights restricted. If I recall, most TresSugar readers were in favor of legalizing prostitution, so I am assuming most readers would also be against making it a felony for convicted prostitutes to use social networking sites.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
agree Lolita89 let's stop with the "oh well what about a boyfriend and girlfriend who are consensual and underage" - something obviously transpired that has their sexual relationship on public record. predators are predators, and boo hoo if a "less bad" registered sex offender can't get on Facebook. is it really that much of a right?
sham28 sham28 7 years
Poor 20-year-old who sleeps with a 16-year-old that claims and appears to be 18.
arianamarie arianamarie 7 years
shouldn't this have been done already?
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
This is a bad idea. Obviously Facebook and MySpace can do whatever they want, but I am against laws that prohibit sex offenders from using them. SO many things can get you labeled as a sex offender, and a lot of those things don't make you a threat to people on social networks. Should it be a felony for someone who pleaded no contest to public urination charges to have a Facebook account? NO. What about underage "sexters", prostitutes, or 24-year-olds who had consensual sex with their 17-year-old girlfriends? NO.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
oh please, cakeshinigami, Facebook is already controlled by advertising, having the government "control" the site in an attempt to protect users does not mean there is going to be propaganda or that the government is going to spy on you (which, by the way, they already can -- if its on the internet, its ON THE INTERNET).
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I think is great! The Internet is a great resource for this sex offenders.
cko444 cko444 7 years
ARE appropriate, rather.
cko444 cko444 7 years
I think the threshhold question is whether or not we're defining "sex offender" correctly. See this week's eye-opening cover story in the Economist - a lot of normal men and women (and their subsequent spouses and kids) have been punished for life on the basis of harmless things they did as teenagers. For the worst of the worst - i.e. true deviants and not 17 yr olds guilty of giving their 15 yr old BF a BJ - restrictions on internet use is appropriate.
cakeshinigami cakeshinigami 7 years
The government has no place telling facebook what to do. I feel no sympathy whatsoever for sex offenders, but we have to be careful how much power we give the government.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
GOOD, I'm glad these sites are realizing they need to ensure their members safety
Veka Veka 7 years
Good!! I think every state should do this. I'm sure it would make a big difference in crimes/attempted crimes. Civil rights should not be an argument. They're registered sex offenders, and once they're registered they lose their right to privacy anyway. The whole neighborhood/area gets notified when they move in and all that. So why not block websites too? I think it's a great idea.
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