MySpace is the web’s largest social networking site in the world. There are over seventy million users; teens, college students, and even seniors. It began as an innocent way for people to connect and stay connected. Today however it is becoming a much more dangerous place for children and young adults. Keeping your kids safe on MySpace should be on the top of your priority list, yet it’s one of the hardest things to do.
With a networking site as large as this one, it becomes difficult to keep track of all your child’s friends and recognizing everyone they’re adding onto their friends list. There are things you can do however to keep your teen safe while still using MySpace. Here are some tips to keeping your kids safe on MySpace.
Tip #1: Talk about it
First and foremost before they even open an account you need to present them with the facts. Tell them how dangerous it can be when they start messing around with social networking sites and that there are people on sites like these that will prey on innocent children. Set up some ground rules for using MySpace and stick to your guns. Keep an open dialogue with them about what they can or cannot post, as well as who they communicate with. The best rule of thumb is to only add “friends” to their list if they have actually met them and know who they are.
Tip #2: Use the privacy settings
Social networking sites are set up in a way so that you can keep your information as private or as public as you want it to be. That’s the nice thing about them. For nervous parents you can help you teen set up their profile with all the privacy settings set to “on.” This will help ensure that outsiders do not see their conversations, their friends, or any of their pictures they put on. Privacy settings on there just for that reason so don’t be afraid to use all of them.
Tip #3: Install monitoring software
Some parents don’t know that there is actually software out there that they can install onto the computer to help keep track of all the internet activities. Monitoring software is a great way to monitor your child’s internet activities without them knowing you’re actually doing it, although if a teen finds out they’re likely to be very upset so use it as a last resort.
Tip #4: Use the network with them
One of the best ways to keep track of your child on a place like MySpace is to get on it and sign up for an account of your own. To those that do not already have one it may sound silly. But if you can open your own account and have your child as them to their “friend” list you automatically have access to their friend list and pretty much everything that is written on their profile page. You can see who they’re talking to the most and make sure you know who they’re communicating with. It’s a good way for you to know what’s going on without being to lame parent.
Parents need to take an active role in the social networking world in order to keep kids safe on MySpace today. It’s more than just a place to find friendship and without parental supervision it can become dangerous.