What is MySpace.com?

Question

What exactly is MySpace and should I let my child use it?

-Loren

Answer

This question was answered on August 4, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

One of the prime objectives in the early days of the Internet was to create a sense of community.

MySpace.com is a recent teenage social-networking phenomenon and a testament to how easy the Internet makes it to become part of a virtual community.

MySpace is part blog (weblog or online journal), part forum, part instant messenger, part e-mail, part newsgroup and part photo journal.

What started out as a small community of people that “networked” with each other has become one of the top 20 trafficked websites on the entire Internet.

It’s popularity has become so big that NewsCorp (FOX) recently purchased the parent company of MySpace (InternMix Media) for a reported $580 million.

Why would a media company want to buy a community based web property? Simple Advertising! MySpace has caught the attention of the teenage world and has advertisers lined up to gain access to them.

It is rare to find a teen that does not have their own “shrine” to themselves on MySpace and that is where some of the concern begins.

As a parent of a “screenager”, I have long been exposed to this fanatical world and have some words of warning for parents.

First of all, this site is rated PG-16 by the creators and much of the content posted by other teens is vulgar, sexually suggestive and much of the advertising is aimed at an older set You must be at least 16 years old to participate in the community according to the terms and conditions of the site, but there is nothing to stop anyone of any age from joining.

If you are going to let your child participate in MySpace, there are many areas that you must address The first is what your child is permitted to post on their site

Make sure you review their profile regularly (which is viewable by anyone in the community) to ensure that no personally identifiable information is listed.

Another big area of concern is what they share with others, specifically when it comes to copyrighted material Teenagers have no concept of copyright laws and think that everything they own is within their rights to share with their friends on MySpace (especially music).

The amount of time spent on the site is another area that you must address or things will get out of hand quickly.

You can monitor and or control all of these areas with various parental control programs, but the bottom line is you must set ground rules with your child and then stay involved.

Parents have no choice but to take the time to learn what their kids are doing or suffer the consequences

As a free public service, all Data Doctors locations now offer help for anxious parents

Any parent can take their computer in for a free scan of the system (for signs of kids involved in objectionable activity), a safe surfing guide and a free trial of a parental control program as well as a quick tutorial on how to use the software.

For the nearest participating location go to DataDoctors.com.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on August 4, 2005