June 19, 2006

MySpace/Facebook: New danger for student athletes

There are plenty of things for student athletes to worry about these days with grades, increased media scrutiny, complicated NCAA rules, unscrupulous sports agents, injuries, staying in shape, eating the right foods, etc. You can add websites like Myspace.com and Facebook.com to that long list.

If you aren't familiar with these sites, they are used primarily by high school and college students as an on-line "social networking interface". Each user creates a personal profile on a webpage complete with photos, video and detailed personal information. But more importantly to the users, they are able to interact with each other through weblogs, e-mail, web forums, instant messaging and groups.

MySpace alone has 70 million visitors, and if you are a high school or college-age student with access to the Internet, the odds are good that you have a profile on one or more of these interactive personal networks. The same can be said for student athletes.

"It's extremely popular," FSU freshman safety Myron Rolle said. "I'd say about 90 percent of our team is on Facebook. I think it's a big trend in college. When I first got to college and got my email address I signed up for it. My brother had it so I wanted to get on too.

"For me, I use MySpace and Facebook just to stay connected to my friends. I have a lot of friends from my high school and friends from my town in Galloway, New Jersey and keep them updated on what's going on, and my brother is on there. It's just a good way to stay connected and let everybody know what's happening with you."

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