Who Else Wants To Keep Their Kids Safe On MySpace?

keep your kids safe on MySpace

My children use MySpace from time to time and I have seen them share information that they really ought to keep private.

With MySpace being a social site that is open to anyone aged 14 or over there are a great many teenagers who are part of the global MySpace community.

Is your child one of them?

MySpace-security

For many younger people MySpace offers the opportunity to express themselves and their creativity and feelings.

It is also a great opportunity to make new friends or stay in touch with people they already know.

However, everyone needs to be aware of the dangers posed on the internet, particularly in such social communities.

I believe that making your kids aware of the potential dangers of the internet is essential.

However, it is still a parent’s responsibility to oversee what their children are doing and to keep them safe.

MYSPACE SECURITY FOR KIDS

Kids who use MySpace, or the internet in general for that matter, should be constrained by a few household rules in order to safeguard them.

The following general internet rules can help minimise the potential dangers that they may face –

  1. Do not allow your kids to post their full name and address online.
    This measure will help to prevent stalking which could become a problem if online predators know where your child lives.
    It will also minimise the risks of your child becoming a victim of identity theft.
  2. Restrict internet usage to specific periods of the day.
    This can prevent overuse of the Internet and allow better monitoring of their activities.
  3. Do not allow your children to meet online friends in person without your consent.
    Better still, try to arrange for both sets of parents to be present, or for any meetings to take place in a well lit, public location as opposed to a secluded spot such as an individual’s home.
  4. Do not respond to threats or harassment.
    Kids should be taught to ignore this type of behavior and/or to report it to parents or the administrator of they site they are visiting.
    They should be encouraged to never respond to such threats or harassing messages as this can often make situations far worse.
  5. Ensure that your children can only access the internet from locations you can monitor.
    In other words, kids should only be allowed to access the Internet on computers that are in locations such as the family room rather than in their bedrooms.

MONITOR YOUR CHILD’S ONLINE ACTIVITY

Parents whose children have a MySpace account should regularly monitor their child’s activity in order to ensure that these interactions are not potentially harmful, as they were in the case of Megan Meier who committed suicide.

As a parent you should be particularly aware of when your kids may be interacting with older people who may engage in conversations which may not be appropriate.

You should also consider the possibility that not everyone is honest when they are online – just because someone says they are 16 doesn’t make it so – they could be a 50 year old man for all you know.

Predators are known to frequent all manner of chat rooms and social sites across the internet and you should be aware that they are very good at befriending children by pretending to be of a similar age.

FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE SITES YOUR CHILDREN VISIT

If your child uses MySpace, or any other internet community, then it would be wise to visit those sites yourself in order to get an idea of how they operate.

It would also be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the site’s terms of service and privacy policy.

By doing this you will be able to form a good idea of what types of interactions your kids may be having, as well as the safeguards and other precautions that are in place to help protect your loved ones.

Read more on protecting your kids online.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Based on a lot of the scary stuff that is out there, I understand how a lot of parents worry.

    However, the Internet is definitely a tool that can be used for varying levels of empowerment that might not otherwise be available to kids. Further, because parents have grown up in a top-down mentality, and not the sort of open plane that exists online, it is definitely important for parents to spend some time trying to understand what is possible/how their children can engage / get involved in politics / activist issues / etc. As in real life, the more involved and engaged children are in the cyber sphere, the less “down-time” they have to investigate/engage-in risky behavior.

  2. Hi CreditMom

    Your point about retaining control over your child’s account by having their password is an excellent one.

    I’d quite forgotten to include that in my article but it is, perhaps, one of the best bits of advice available.

    Has your son always gone along with your requests or have you had battles over his use of Facebook?

  3. Another way to keep kids safe online is to engage them in sites that are age-friendly. You can certainly monitor their MySpace, and give them guidelines about posting their real name and age, but at the end of the day…these sites really maybe shouldn’t be for younger kids. This was a big reason why we began our site http://www.thecupcakesclub.com. We wanted to give parents a safe place to send their kids (mainly girls aged 7-12) where they could safely interact in fun discussion, games and a book club (everything is highly moderated). I know there are other sites out there as well that are more geared to kids. Parents should try to find them and get their kids interested.

    Donna Benson
    The Cupcakes Club

  4. CreditMom says:

    I agree with your advise. My son has a Facebook account. I will not permit MySpace because they are even more lenient than Facebook. Nevertheless I cannot emphasize enough that you not only need to set up your own account and have your child includce you as a friend, but you must have full access (yes that means password) to his account. The deal with my 14 year old was you give me the password and the day you change the password is the day we remove your computer.

    The reason you need the password is so you can see the private messages. Just being a friend does not allow you to see the private messages that could be dangerous.

    Also, take the time to set up the account (with full privacy settings) with your child. As you do so keep explaining the security threats.

    I can’t tell you how many offensive applications and items I have found on his Facebook. He has 24 hours to remove or he loses the account. It’s that simple…I’m still the parent, that’s my job and it’s my rules.

Trackbacks

  1. […] And you are a parent and they it is very necessary to keep an eye on the activities pursed by your kids on MySpace. […]

  2. […] the end of the exodus for most people from Myspace to Facebook, barely anybody would use the group features […]

Speak Your Mind

*