MySpace has over seventy million users around the world. It is safe to say that MySpace is among the most used social networking web sites out there and it continues to grow. MySpace was originally a place for college students to communicate and keep in contact with one another. It is much more than that now, giving teens, students, parents, and even seniors a way to keep in touch. The amount of seniors using social networking sites tripled in this past month alone. With so many unknown users in this network parents are becoming more aware of the dangers of MySpace and have tried to combat those dangers in order to keep their children safe while surfing the net.
The biggest danger and fear for most parents that have children using MySpace is that they are contacting and communicating with people you don’t know, and perhaps who they don’t even know. We all know, unfortunately that there are people out there that will prey on innocent teens found on social networking web sites. You no longer have to worry about your teens meeting someone at the mall (which may have actually been a little safer); you have to worry about them finding friends on social networking sites. The dangers are evident and parents need to be cautious about letting their children use MySpace.
Questions to ask in order to keep your child safe on MySpace
If you’re one of those parents that is worried about your child using MySpace you’re not alone. You just need to know what to ask yourself in order to keep them safe from predators. Here are some questions to ask them and yourself while they are using their MySpace account:
1. Who can see their profile? The best way to find out who can see all of your child’s profile is to actually sign up for an account and try to find them in the MySpace directory. If they placed privacy settings on their account then all you will be able to see is a picture (if that) and nothing else. Many predators find their prey by searching the directories of teens that don’t have any privacy settings set up.
2. Can you see any of their pictures? Again, a predator that can see pictures of their next prey is more likely to establish contact with them. There are ways to set up your MySpace account so that outsiders cannot see your child’s pictures on their profile page unless they have been added as a friend.
3. Who is on their friend list? If you have an account have your child add you to their friend list. This gives you the opportunity to see who their friends are and who they’re talking to. In fact, there is a way to make sure that your child only adds people they know in real life to their list. This function forces anyone asking for a friend request to give their last name and email address before the friend request goes through.
4. Who is your child going to receive messages from? You can keep strangers from sending your child messages by going to the “spam” tab in your account settings and choosing the option that only allows friends to send messages.
Despite the effort of most honest and good people out there, there will always be predators trying to lure innocent teens into doing things they shouldn’t. The dangers of MySpace are evident, but hopefully these questions will give you a good idea on what you can do to keep your child safe while using MySpace.