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February 25, 2008
Aparna found this information at:

In addition to the discovery that at least seven nonviolent sexual assaults on minors could be traced to meetings on MySpace, at least one murder has been linked to initial contact on the Web site. While these problems are in no way exclusive to MySpace -- the Internet in general is a playground for predators by nature of its anonymity -- the press has latched on to MySpace in particular because a lot of its users are under 18 and the site doesn't verify users' identities.
The site does have rules in place intended to protect its users. You have to be 14 or older to register, and if you're younger than 16, only people in your Friend Space can access your profile. But kids lie about their age when they register, and so do people who are looking for underage sex partners.

So MySpace finds itself in something of a Catch-22. A big part of the reason that MySpace is so successful is its "hey, whatever" openness. If the site employs identity-verification procedures, it will probably chase off the predators and the kids who are lying about their age. It will also potentially alienate a lot of the legitimate users who just want a cool place to hang out online without being asked for a credit card or social security number.

According to MySpace representatives, the company dedicates one-third of its 175-person workforce to policing profiles for inaccuracies, although it's unclear whether that began before or after the media started referring to MySpace as "a parent's nightmare." These employees are looking for age discrepancies (matching stated ages with pictures), other profile "errors" and inappropriate material that might be accessed by underage users. The MySpace "Safety Tips" section asks users to report MySpace users who appear to be younger than 14. It also offers good advice that you'd find on any other social-networking or online-dating Web site:

- Do not to post any personally identifiable information (like your address or phone number).
- Only meet other MySpace users in public places unless you already know them in "real life."
- Employ safe surfing techniques to avoid identity theft, phishing and other scams.
- Immediately report a suspicious MySpace communication, and save the message so the police can trace it to the sender if necessary.

On April 11, 2006, MySpace announced that it had hired a former federal prosecutor to be its first-ever chief security officer. MySpace says it is also working with to implement additional safety procedures on the site. But the cat's out of the bag. In the corporate advertising world, the revelation that your anonymous, full-of-teenagers Web site is attracting sexual predators is probably in the realm of catching Kate Moss with a straw in her nose -- sure, nobody's genuinely surprised, but having proof is a different story. MySpace has taken an active approach to solving its image problem by effectively banning 29,000 registered sex offenders from the site.

There's no doubt that MySpace is popular -- so popular that people want to be able to take their MySpace with them -- and now they can with MySpace Mobile. Read on to find out about MySpace Mobile and an another highly anticipated recent application, MySpace IM.

Aparna's Review:
As far as meeting other MySpace users that you don't know in real life, only agree to meet them with parental consent, with a trusted adult, or not at all. There are pedophiles and sexual predators - so keeping that in mind, know that you are treading dangerous waters.

February 22, 2008
Adam found this information at:

MySpace makes it easy to express yourself, connect with friends and make new ones, but please remember that what you post publicly could embarrass you or expose you to danger. Here are some common sense guidelines that you should follow when using MySpace:
  • Don't forget that your profile and MySpace forums are public spaces. Don't post anything you wouldn't want the world to know (e.g., your phone number, address, IM screens name, or specific whereabouts). Avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find you, such as where you hang out every day after school.
  • People aren't always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your friends list. It's fun to connect with new MySpace friends from all over the world, but avoid meeting people in person whom you do not fully know. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult.
  • Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone's behavior is inappropriate, react. Talk with a trusted adult, or report it to MySpace or the authorities.
  • Don't post anything that would embarrass you later. Think twice before posting a photo or info you wouldn't want your parents or boss to see!
  • Don't mislead people into thinking that you're older or younger. If you lie about your age, MySpace will delete your profile.

Adam also found the information below at:

For teens, MySpace is a popular online hangout because the site makes it easy for them to express themselves and keep in touch with their friends.
As a parent, please consider the following guidelines to help your children make safe decisions about using online communities.
  • Talk to your kids about why they use MySpace, how they communicate with others and how they represent themselves on MySpace.
  • Kids shouldn't lie about how old they are. MySpace members must be 14 years of age or older. We take extra precautions to protect our younger members and we are not able to do so if they do not identify themselves as such. MySpace will delete users whom we find to be younger than 14, or those misrepresenting their age.
  • MySpace is a public space. Members shouldn't post anything they wouldn't want the world to know (e.g., phone number, address, IM screen name, or specific whereabouts). Tell your children they should avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find them, such as their local hangouts.
  • Remind them not to post anything that could embarrass them later or expose them to danger. Although MySpace is public, teens sometimes think that adults can't see what they post. Tell them that they shouldn't post photos or info they wouldn't want adults to see.
  • People aren't always who they say they are. Ask your children to be careful about adding strangers to their friends list. It's fun to connect with new MySpace friends from all over the world, but members should be cautious when communicating with people they don't know. They should talk to you if they want to meet an online friend in person, and if you think it's safe, any meeting should take place in public and with friends or a trusted adult present.
  • Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If your kids encounter inappropriate behavior, let them know that they can let you know, or they should report it to MySpace or the authorities.

Lily Found this information at :

Online Safety on MySpace and Other Social Networking Sites

Safety Tips for Social Networking
Social Networks or Online Communities have become an integral part of the lives of many teenagers today. There are some real dangers involved, as there are in off-line aspects of a young person’s life. But rather than attempting to deny access and participation in this form of online socializing, we suggest that with some common sense, open, calm dialogue, and simple guidelines, participation in an online community can be a safe and enriching experience. Here are our tips for making this happen (More information about social networking is available by scrolling down this page.):
For Parents:
  1. We recommend a minimum age of 16 for participation in on online community. Generally, children younger than 16 are not mature enough to handle the opportunities and challenges of social networking.
  2. Begin an open conversation about your teens' social networking experience. Try to establish a context for discussion that is not combative or accusing.
  3. Create your own account on MySpace or another social network. Spend some time browsing the network's site. This will give you familiarity with the world that is so essential to your teen(s) and their friends and will facilitate future conversations.
  4. If your child has an account, require that they show it to you. Periodically monitor/read it.
  5. Set the expectation that only people they know in real life should be on their "friends" list.
  6. Know your children's passwords, screen names and account information. This will enable you to view their pages even if they set their profile to "private". (Private profiles are accounts that can only be viewed by others given explicit permission to view it. This is a double-edged sword, in that it means strangers [like sexual predators] don't have an easy way to learn about or harass the private account owner. However, it also means that without being granted access, parents and other adults in positions of authority or care-giving cannot view the online activity of the owner either.)
  7. Remove online privileges if it becomes a problem. This is only as a last resort and keep it mind that a young person can establish an account and access it school, the library, or a friend's house. Clearly, open dialog and trust is best.
  8. As another last resort, consider installing keystroke capturing software on your family computer from ****. Again, this won't deal with your child's using computers away from home.
  9. Talk with other parents, with teachers, and other adults who work with kids. Also, check out the links to other helpful websites below.
For Children:
  1. Talk with your parents. Let them learn and understand the role of social networking in your life.
  2. Never post anything you wouldn't want your parents, teachers, or future employers to see.
  3. Never post personal information (phone number, E-mail or address) on the web. The same applies for your friends' information. Be aware that information you post could put you at risk of victimization
  4. Never meet with anyone you first “met” online and tell your parent if anyone requests a meeting.
  5. Only add people as friends if you know then in real life. Set privacy settings so that you have to approve people to be added as a friend.
  6. Include your parents and other trusted adults as friends. If your parents do not have an account, give them access to your profile.
What is Social Networking ?
Social Networking is a term used to describe the fairly recent breed of websites, also referred to as online communities. These sites generally enable their subscribers to post a journal and various forms of media content, to generate and maintain relationships with other participants, and to engage in discussions around common interests with others. Some of the most popular social networks are in the U.S. are MySpace, Xanda, LiveJournal, BlackPlanet, MiGente, AsianAvenue, Bolt, Hi5, Facebook, and Friendster.
These sites are immensely popular with teens and young adults and have become an integral part of their lives, much like television was for their parents. Social networks or online communities offer great opportunities for self-expression, relational support, new experiences, helpful information and just plain fun.
What are risks?
Objectionable Content: On many online communities, users post material that is not appropriate for children or that many parents would find objectionable. This can include obscene language, racist or violent text or images, and a wide range of sexual content including pornography.
Overexposure: Parents need to be concerned not only with what their children might see and hear, but also what they may present. Teens can make unwise decisions about what they post online. This includes posting pictures of himself or herself or of friends in a sexually provocative or incriminating manner; publishing personal information that sexual predators could use to learn more about a child or their friends; or bragging about exploits (real or made-up) or making threatening and harassing remarks that could have negative consequences.
Contact with predators: Much publicity has been generated around sexual predators (mainly adults) looking for minors to exploit. There are such individuals who frequent online communities that teens use. Sometimes, these adults will pretend to be teens themselves, but often they will be quite clear about their age and intent.
Contact with other inappropriate adults and businesses: Various segments of the sex industry (legal and otherwise) have a presence on social networking sites, often to recruit customers and workers. Minors should not have direct contact with such sex professionals and organizations, but it does happen. In some cases, teens could become victims of sex-trafficking or be persuaded to provide sexually explicit pictures or video for pay.

Chat Room Safety
The basic safety tips and rules apply for most online chat environments. Common sense and caution should always prevail but, there are some slight differences to the way chat rooms and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) operate.
On this page you will find some general tips on chat room and IRC safety:
Basic safety tips for online chat rooms
Anything you type in a chat room can be seen by everyone who is using that chat room so be careful what you type. In cyberspace the walls don't so much have ears as eyes.
Choose an non identifiable, non gender specific screen name (and keep it clean!)
Never give out any personal information whilst chatting online . That means your real name, telephone or cell phone number[s], mailing address, passwords, banking details etc. Ignore requests for personal information like A/S/L and be vague with responses to questions like WITW.
Never accept files or downloads from people you don't know or from people you do know, if you weren‘t expecting them. This includes URLs.
Never arrange to meet someone offline that you only know through chat room conversations.
Make sure you know how to save copies of your chat room conversations.
Make sure you now how to report problems to the chat room moderator.
Remember your Netiquette and be nice! Don’t send mean chat messages, get involved in chat room arguments (flaming) or incite others to do so. /internet101/netiquette.html

2/11/08 Mrs. Cassinelli found this article at: URL
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David found this website: and other similar sites are designed to allow people to share their creativity, pictures, and information with others. Sometimes people do this to find romance. Sometimes they do it to find friends with similar interest. While this may be okay for adults, it is not okay for kids. recognizes this, and prohibits anyone under 14 years of age from using their website. Unfortunately, while they may set rules to keep younger kids off the site, they can’t prevent kids from lying about their age, pretending to be 14 years of age or older. To address this, has developed special software to review the profiles of their members, to try and find anyone under age, based on information the members post about themselves. It’s not perfect, but it does help spot the underage members.
While is doing its best to keep your children from using their website and lying about their age, it’s up to parents to do their job too. Parents need to talk with their children about not sharing personal information online. Personal information includes pictures, names and addresses, schools they attend, cell and phone numbers and many other less obvious things, such as the name of their school team, ethnic background and even a mall near your house.

Ryan H. found this website:

Flummoxed by bad press, the folks at are scrambling to derail the perception that they've become the preferred dating service of pedophiles.
The first arrow in their anti-Cupid's quiver is to enact state and federal laws requiring that convicted sex offenders register their e-mail addresses just as they already must register their physical one. Armed with the new database, MySpace and other sites will be able to bar the cyber-gates against perverts.
On Monday, Virginia's Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced his backing for the required legislative changes here.

McDonnell is right to be concerned about the issue, but if his loud endorsement causes parents to ease up on supervising children's Internet use, the effort will be worse than irrelevant. The idea is so ridiculously full of holes that any predator familiar with such obscure Internet technologies as Yahoo! and Google can get around it with a minute's effort.
Google and Yahoo, along with a host of other sites, let anyone create a new e-mail address in seconds. New e-mail addresses and the ability to create new e-mail aliases now come with cell phones, new broadband connections and AOL. There are also more sophisticated services on the Internet that let the privacy-minded hide their identities.
The folks at MySpace who call these proposals "a landmark moment in the history of Internet safety" are simply delusional. The sex offender e-mail registry is a "landmark" in Internet safety in the same sense that Appomattox was a "landmark" feat in Confederate arms.
To his credit, McDonnell clearly states, "We fully realize how easy it is to get new e-mail addresses." His spokesman says parents shouldn't relax their vigilance. However, they bury that honesty under a barrage of false assurances.
"Law enforcement will be able to help such sites monitor users... will now have the ability to both delete and/or block these individuals from accessing their site."
No they won't.
Law enforcement won't be able to help such sites monitor users who have the most cursory knowledge of the Internet. and other sites will not be able to block anyone who makes a casual effort to circumvent these laughable protections.
The only rebuttals McDonnell's office offers are that new criminal penalties and more officers checking up on predators will deter them. Small comfort. The very reason law enforcement - and parents - worry about pedophiles is that nothing deters them from seeking their favorite prey. That's why we have sex offender registries in the first place.
The only predators McDonnell's effort will catch - and the only parents he will reassure - are those who don't know anything about the Internet.

Lindsay found this website
Adults question MySpace's safety
By Janet Kornblum, USA TODAYAs MySpace booms in popularity among teens, it also is drawing the wrath of parents and school officials who are concerned about the off-color nature of some pages and the safety of young users who give too much information about themselves.
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Parents and schools fear kids' pages on the website are too explicit and give out too much personal information.
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Many schools have blocked MySpace so students can't access it from school computers. And at least one private school, Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J., recently made headlines when it told students that they could face suspension for using the site even off campus.
"Parents aren't happy," says Internet safety expert Parry Aftab. "Schools are unhappy."
Aftab, of the non-profit group WiredSafety, began advising MySpace after parents complained about the site, worried that their kids' pages were too explicit and gave out too much personal information.
Aftab says she gets about 1,000 e-mail messages a day from parents who are upset about the site.
A simple scan of MySpace pages clearly shows that four-letter words and sexy pictures are standard features on most pages. And there's no question that kids divulge personal information online. Though MySpace specifically prohibits anyone under 14 from joining, younger teens often lie about their ages.
MySpace tries to educate its users about online safety. It also regularly monitors users' pages and removes photos that contain nudity and hate icons — although sexually explicit pictures sometimes get through. And profanity is the norm. If the site discovers that users are under 14, it will kick them off.
Aftab says parents should focus on safety.
Though Internet sex crimes represent only 1% to 2% of all sex crimes against children, the danger is real and likely growing because of the Internet's increasing popularity, says David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
Internet predators almost always are older men who correspond extensively with victims (75% of them young teenage girls) before meeting them, Finkelhor says.
But simply telling kids not to post personal information and to refrain from meeting strangers may not be enough. Parents should teach teens that relationships with adults are both illegal and doomed to failure, he says.

Hey guys, Anna found this information at
Get involved. Among the many millions of people visiting these sites, some, indeed, are sexual predators, and there have been some highly publicized accounts of teenagers who've been lured into offline meetings at which they've been assaulted. Parents, understandably, are traumatized by such stories. By focusing so intently on protecting their kids from stalkers, however, parents have overlooked other less sensational but important aspects of their kids' online experiences. How teens interact with their peers in cyberspace, for example, and how they present themselves through images and words may not be life-or-death decisions, but they can have a serious impact on their lives offline. As the new school year begins, parents have an opportunity to take an interest and get involved in their kids' online experiences, if they haven't done so already.
Even though social-networking sites, instant messaging, chat rooms, E-mail, and the like may not seem to qualify as social gathering spots to parents, for teens, they function very much like the malls and burger joints of earlier eras. They're where young people go to hang out, gossip, posture, dare, and generally figure out how the world works. "What you see is all the behaviors you should recognize from your own teenage years," says Danah Boyd, a doctoral candidate at Berkeley who has studied children's social practices online. "The difference is that now it's less physical and more word-based."
It's also available 24-7. A teenager might check MySpace from home before heading off to school to see if anyone added a comment to his page overnight. Many schools block social-networking sites, but after school, teens often spend hours on them. They'll check their own profiles to see what comments friends may have posted on them, which may be public and available for all the world to read. They may write a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs in their blogs. They'll probably also instant message, or IM, friends to recap the day's events or make plans, upload new photos, or change the music on their page. Then they'll visit their friends' pages to see if they've uploaded any new photos or videos, read new comments from other friends, and post comments of their own. "People have their friends, and now they have the Internet, too," says Matt Zeitlin, a 16-year-old junior in Piedmont, Calif. "It's a more evolved way to communicate than a telephone or cellphone or IM." For some teens, keeping up with their friends online becomes almost an obsession. They compulsively check their messages and look to see who's remarking on their page throughout the day.
Parenting in this virtual world doesn't require a whole new set of skills, though a little technological savvy sure doesn't hurt. What it does require is a willingness to pay attention, ask a lot of questions, and set some rules and stick by them, even at the risk of making your kids mad at you-familiar parenting territory.
"Chicken." But too often that's not happening. Parents who would never allow their child to go to a party unless they knew that an adult would be present let their kids pilot themselves through the online world without any supervision whatsoever. A June survey of 267 pairs of teens and parents in the Los Angeles metropolitan area by a psychology professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills found that two thirds of parents had never talked with their teen about their MySpace use, and 38 percent of them had never seen their child's MySpace profile. "Parents are chicken," says Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer and executive director of, a nonprofit aimed at keeping kids safe online that has trained 450 teenagers in online safety and sends them out to speak to schools and other groups. "They don't understand the technology, so they're reluctant to get involved."

Daniel found the followint at:

MySpace Safety Tips
Keep the Computer in a common area. This is the single best "internet safety for kids" tip you can use! Online predators just don't have enough time to hook their prey, when the kids know mom and dad are able to glance over at any time and see what they're doing.
Talk to your kids about the dangers of MySpace. Let them know what you expect of them and that they shouldn't be surprised if an online predator tries to contact them. Make sure they know that they won't get in trouble if they tell you about it.

Monitor Your Childs MySpace Profile
If your child has a MySpace page, you need to monitor it. Ask them to show you their profile. Be sure to note what their Display Name is (located just above their picture). You'll need this to locate their profile later. Far too many kids use the F--- word on their MySpace page, as if nobody were around to hear them. Many profiles include blogs of how terrible their parents are and how much they hate them. When it comes to MySpace and safety for your kids, it's imperative that you know what is on their profile. The MySpace Search Page can be used to find your child's profile, but it has some shortcomings. Fortunately, there are several approaches you can use. The Search Page allows you to search by Name, Display Name or Email Address. Try each of these, using whatever information you have about your child, to find their profile. If you can't locate your child with a normal search, try searching for one of their friends! They might be easier to find, and then from their friend's profile page, you should easily be able to locate your child in their list of friends.

Spy on your kids?
Absolutely! Our parents spied on us, and their parents spied on them. Now, we live in a society where we are supposed to give our children absolute privacy, and we don't seem to understand why they have so many problems! Fifty years ago, the problems and challenges that children faced were in many ways easier than they are now, and yet parents took a very active role in raising them. Today, the water is much deeper and the sharks have multiplied. They need your involvement now more than ever. You never have to apologize to your children for knowing what they are doing 24 hours a day. That's your job.