According to the MySpace website, MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends’ friends.
MySpace is for everyone:
- Friends who want to talk Online
- Single people who want to meet other Singles
- Matchmakers who want to connect their friends with other friends
- Families who want to keep in touch–map your Family Tree
- Business people and co-workers interested in networking
- Classmates and study partners
- Anyone looking for long lost friends!
MySpace has been used in many positive ways. Police say they check young people’s MySpace websites to see if teens are talking about drinking. Recently, aNew York teacher says she got an anonymous tip through her MySpace page that helped her track down her abducted son in South Korea.
Safety Tips from MySpace.com
MySpace makes it easy to express yourself, connect with friends and make new ones, but please remember that what you post publicly could embarrass you or expose you to danger. Here are some common sense guidelines that you should follow when using MySpace:
- Don’t forget that your profile and MySpace forums are public spaces. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want the world to know (e.g., your phone number, address, IM screens name, or specific whereabouts). Avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find you, such as where you hang out every day after school.
- People aren’t always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your friends list. It’s fun to connect with new MySpace friends from all over the world, but avoid meeting people in person whom you do not fully know. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult.
- Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone’s behavior is inappropriate, react. Talk with a trusted adult, or report it to MySpace or the authorities.
- Don’t post anything that would embarrass you later. Think twice before posting a photo or info you wouldn’t want your parents or boss to see!
- Don’t mislead people into thinking that you’re older or younger. If you lie about your age, MySpace will delete your profile.
Tips for parents from MySpace.com
For teens, MySpace is a popular online hangout because the site makes it easy for them to express themselves and keep in touch with their friends.
As a parent, please consider the following guidelines to help your children make safe decisions about using online communities.
- Talk to your kids about why they use MySpace, how they communicate with others and how they represent themselves on MySpace.
- Kids shouldn’t lie about how old they are. MySpace members must be 14 years of age or older. We take extra precautions to protect our younger members and we are not able to do so if they do not identify themselves as such. MySpace will delete users whom we find to be younger than 14, or those misrepresenting their age.
- MySpace is a public space. Members shouldn’t post anything they wouldn’t want the world to know (e.g., phone number, address, IM screen name, or specific whereabouts). Tell your children they should avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find them, such as their local hangouts.
- Remind them not to post anything that could embarrass them later or expose them to danger. Although MySpace is public, teens sometimes think that adults can’t see what they post. Tell them that they shouldn’t post photos or info they wouldn’t want adults to see.
- People aren’t always who they say they are. Ask your children to be careful about adding strangers to their friends list. It’s fun to connect with new MySpace friends from all over the world, but members should be cautious when communicating with people they don’t know. They should talk to you if they want to meet an online friend in person, and if you think it’s safe, any meeting should take place in public and with friends or a trusted adult present.
- Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If your kids encounter inappropriate behavior, let them know that they can let you know, or they should report it to MySpace or the authorities.
For more information on Monitoring software, please visit:
To learn more please visit these other resources:
- The Child Safety Network
- Common Sense Media
ConnectSafely is for parents, teens, educators, advocates - everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web.
The site has tips for teens and parents, as well as other resources for safe blogging and social networking.
ConnectSafely.org is a project of Tech Parenting Group, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah. The forum is co-directed by Larry Magid of SafeKids.com and Anne Collier of NetFamilyNews.org, co-authors of MySpace Unraveled: What It Is and How to Use It Safely.
Tips for parents from connectsafely.org
|Social-Web Tips for Parents|
|Be reasonable and try to set reasonable expectations. Pulling the plug on your child’s favorite social site is like pulling the plug on his or her social life. Instead of being protective, it can shut down communication and send kids “underground” where they’re more at risk. It’s too easy for them to set up free blogs and profiles from anywhere, including friends’ houses or even a cell phone. Talk with your kids about how they use the services. They, not news reports or even experts, are the ones to consult about their social-Web experience. Help them understand basic safety guidelines, such as protecting their privacy (including passwords), not harassing peers, never talking about sex with people they don’t know, avoiding in-person meetings with people they “meet” online, and taking care in what they post - because anything people put online can be grabbed, reworked, and used against them. |
Support critical thinking and civil behavior because no laws or parental-control software can protect better than a child’s developing good sense about safety and relationships. Research shows that kids who are aggressive and mean online toward peers or strangers are at greater risk of becoming victims themselves. So teach them to be good citizens and friends online as much as offline.
Consider requiring Internet use in a high-traffic place in your home - not in kids’ rooms - to help you stay aware of their online time. This way, you can encourage a balance between online time and their offline academic, sports, and social times. Know that there are also many ways kids can access the Internet away from home, including on many mobile phones and game players.
Try to get your kids to share their profiles and blogs with you, but be aware that they can have multiple accounts on multiple services. Use search engines and the search tools on social-networking sites to search for your kids’ full names, phone numbers and other identifying information. You’re not invading their privacy if they’re putting personal info in public “places” online. If their pages are private, that’s a good thing, but it’s even better if they share it with you.