Internet Safety for Kids

Internet Safety for Kids:  The Importance of Monitoring Your Child’s MySpace Use

If you are an avid internet user, there is a good chance that you have heard of MySpace before.  As an avid internet user, you likely already know that MySpace is a social networking site that has took the internet by storm.  As neat as MySpace looks from the standpoint of an internet user, you also need to look at it from the standpoint of a parent if you are one.

So, are you a parent whose child uses the internet?  If you are, there is a good chance that your child is also using MySpace.  Do you know?  You may be surprised just how many junior high school and high school students use MySpace as a way to communicate with friends, as well as a way to meet new friends.  Although all websites have the potential to be dangerous, MySpace, you can say, has an increased risk.  For that reason, it is important to monitor your child’s use of MySpace.

As important as it is to hear that MySpace can be dangerous for children and teenagers, you may be looking for more information.  Many parents are unaware of the dangers that MySpace and the internet in general holds.  The best way to protect your child online and on MySpace is to be aware.

One reason why you need to monitor your child’s use of MySpace is because of internet predators, which are also often sexual predators.  MySpace makes it easy for strangers to communicate with each other.  The internet in general makes it easy to be someone else, like someone a lot younger or someone a lot older.  Your child may end up talking to a 50 year old man or women, who pretends to be someone their age.  For that reason, you need to monitor your child’s MySpace account.  Make sure that they are not sharing personal information online, such as their full name, phone number, or address.

Another one of the many reasons why you should monitor your child’s use of MySpace is because of pictures and video.  MySpace allows all internet users to post pictures and videos.  In fact, it is relatively easy to do so.  All profiles that are public can be viewed by others.  In keeping with internet predators, MySpace also records and posts your child’s location, such as the city and state.  Posting this information, along with their first name, the school, and a personal photo or video can make it easier for your children to be found, even by those who they haven’t made direct contact with online.

Although internet predators are often the biggest threat of children using the internet and MySpace, there is another danger that lurks.  There have been multiple news reports that highlight children, mostly teenagers, who have been suspended from school, suspended from sports teams, or arrested.  This is often the result of a MySpace user posting pictures or videos of them doing something illegal, like stealing, doing drugs, or drinking underage.  If this is information that your child has on their MySpace page, you will want to see it and get it removed before their school or the authorities do.

Now that you know some of the dangers that children face when using MySpace, you may be curious as to how you can go about protecting them.  First, make sure you know if your child has a MySpace account.  You can view your computer’s history or perform a search on the page to see if your child has a profile listed.  If they do, view their profile.  You should talk to your child about the dangers of MySpace anyways, but you should definitely talk to them if you see something disturbing on their MySpace page.  This should include conversations that take a sexual tone or the exchange of personal information.

As a reminder, the monitoring of your child’s MySpace use is extremely important.  No matter how mature or reliable your child is, they may unintentionally become a victim.
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