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Are Your Kids In Danger?
There is certainly cause for concern. According to The Center for Missing and Exploited Children, last year more than 2,600 incidents occurred in which adults used the Internet to lure children.
The natural assumption might be that parents would do everything in their power to stop this problem; however, unfortunately, in many cases parents simply fail to recognize the potential danger involved in their kids having profiles on MySpace.
Kids can be just as clueless about the information they post on their profiles. While they might never knowingly post information that could get them into serious danger, they often simply do not understand the dangers involved in what they do post. Generally, they believe the information they post on MySpace is only for their friends. It might not ever even occur to them that a child sex offender might be lurking around looking at their site, and the personal information they have posted there. The thought that there could be adults pretending to be teens just never crosses their minds.
Besides the confidential and personal information that is frequently posted by teens online, another common problem are the surveys that are commonly posted on MySpace. Any user can post the survey and ask for responses. The issues on these surveys range from drinking to drug use and many other questionable topics. Users even have the ability to post pictures if they want. Itís quite easy to see how this could lead to potential danger. All a young user needs to do is post a response to the survey and before they know it they could be targeted by an online predatory.
MySpace does require users to be at least age 14 and users are warned that they should not post any material that is personally identifiable. Generally; however, this advice seems to be ignored on a routine basis. Even worse, there is absolutely no age verification process to prevent individuals who are younger than 14 from signing up and simply lying about their birth date in order to set up an account.
The dangers posed by the information typically posted by teens on MySpace are definitely alarming. Sex offenders can find out just about anything they want to know about the gender and age of the teens they prefer to target-everything from names and photos to details about what they like, where they tend to hang our, etc. Such like and dislike information can easily be used by an online predator to gain a teenís confidence and lure them into a dangerous situation. Even worse, information such as complete names and telephone numbers are commonly posted. As if that wasnít bad enough, predators can also find pictures that will reveal exactly what their targets look like, making it quite easy to track them down along with the wealth of other information that is frequently posted.
Obviously, there is definite valid concern about the dangers posed by MySpace. That, of course, is not necessarily to say that teens should avoid MySpace or other similar sites; however, it is a good idea for parents to teacher their kids how to keep themselves safe. Good safety tips include:
* Avoid making posting that could help someone to find you, such as the name of your school, your last name, the town where you live, etc.
* Only allow people you know and trust to be your friend on MySpace. Never add strangers to your list.
* Never meet someone in person you meet online.
* Take care in posting photos to your blog.
About the Author: Maddie Grace Hollister is a part-time writer and member of the team Profile Pitstop. You can also read some of her works in Myspace blogs.