September 14th, 2006


MySpace for the homesick

My cousin Dusty (dad's brother's son) and his children, Tony (out of high school) and Courtney (sophomore) recently moved from Minnesota to Bakersfield, CA, partially due to a transfer with his job (I think) and partially due to his ex-wife (again, I think. The story's still pretty vague for me). Until they find a place to stay, they're staying at my parents' house. While Dusty is off at work, Tony and Courtney sit at home, keeping track of their old friends via MySpace.

Dad's decided that "their constantly looking at the same pictures over and over is pathetic," and he asked me today how to block MySpace on the home computer. While I understand he's trying to get them active in Bakersfield, finding new friends and whatnot, I also understand that they're both extremely homesick, and MySpace is the only free way they can still communicate with their friends. I advised dad not to block the site on the grounds that they're more technologically savvy than he is, and would figure out how to unblock it really quickly. I'm worried though, because my dad isn't the most subtle guy in town. He dropped Tony off at the mall this morning and told him to find a job. Apparently he's picking him up at 2:00.

Courtney's trying out for the softball team (from what I hear, she's pretty good) which should take her mind off her homesickness. Tony's stated that if he gets a job, he's going to save all the money he can to go back home. I doubt getting hired will help him acclimate much, but at least it will give him a goal. Hopefully the new activities will either lessen their homesickness, or at least keep them busy enough that dad doesn't see them on the computer all the time. Knowing dad, he'd cancel his account with Earthlink, just to get them off MySpace.

What do you all think? Is MySpace a hindrance for teenagers in a new area to make friends and settle in, or is it effective in keeping old friends and making new ones? Should my dad (or at least my level-headed mom) take steps to wean them off of it, or would that do more harm than good?
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