If you were not already aware, MySpace is a website that is designed to connect kids with other kids. The idea is that one child opens an account and is given their own MySpace page. The user of that page can then add photos and a profile. People with MySpace pages can chat with their friends or invite people that they have never met before to become their “friend” by exchanging information, chatting with each other, and maybe even meet the people that they have only met through the MySpace site.
If all of the people who used MySpace were truthful and harmless, this type of interaction would not be a scary thing. Unfortunately, predators of all kinds feed off the innocent users of MySpace. Millions of people on MySpace are not 100% truthful about their identities. Thousands of these users use their lies to prey on young people. These sexual predators are growing in numbers and so too is the threat of harm to your children.
Many parents simply elect to ban their children from the use of the site in order to avoid any dangerous interactions. Other parents allow their children to continue using a MySpace account, and come up with different ways to ensure that their child remains as safe as possible.
One of the best things that you can do to block the ability of your child to use MySpace is to establish strict rules. Even the most sophisticated technical methods for preventing visitation to the MySpace website will not carry over to every computer your child has access to. How will you stop your child from running their MySpace page from a friend’s house or from a public computer? Before jumping at the chance to purchase filtering or blocking software, make sure that you have been abundantly clear with your kids when it comes to what they are and are not allowed to do online. Rules and guidelines can apply no matter where you go. Give your child a chance to prove that he or she can make the right decision. Parenting techniques will differ and as a result simply stating the rules may not work for every household.
If you are looking to give your kids the freedom to choose but still want to be there every step of the way, spyware or monitoring software may be the right option for you. Spyware allows your child to navigate the Internet as he or she wishes. The catch is that the monitoring software records all of the websites, conversations, e-mails, uploads, downloads, etc, that your child makes. You have the power to look back at the day’s Internet activities and see for yourself whether or not your child was able to abide by the Internet usage rules that you had established with them.
Filters can completely block
With a filter it is possible to completely block certain websites (including MySpace of course). There are a wide range of filters that can be bought. Filters range from very strict content control to more lax controls that may only include a few websites that you do not care for. But remember, your filter can only block Internet content on your computer. Once your child leaves your home, the filter is useless. He or she can access the prohibited information from another computer in another location if he or she wishes to do so. It may be a very difficult thing that you as a parent may be forced to work through if your child is constantly finding ways around the rules. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to protect your children, no matter what it takes.