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May 29th, 2017

Ways to Make your MySpace Page Work for You

Just like that famous bar where everyone knows your name, MySpace is the web version of “a place for friends.” The MySpace website is free and open to everyone, including friends who want to chat online; single people who wish to meet other single people; do-it-at-home matchmakers who want to match their friends up with other friends; families who wish to stay in contact; business people who want to network with other business people; classmates and students looking for potential study partners; and anyone looking for long-lost friends. It sounds like just the sort of space that teens would look to hang out when not actually hanging out with their friends.

Known as a social networking website, MySpace.com has become the fourth most popular English-language website on the Internet and the third most popular website in the United States. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, is owned by News Corporation, and employs roughly 300 staff members. The 106 millionth MySpace.com account was opened on September 8, 2006, and the website reportedly achieves upwards of 230,000 new registrations per day. MySpace estimates that approximately 22% of these registrations belong to minors. In addition, the social networking site has surpassed AOL, ebay, and Google in the number of page views it receives. Now that’s popularity!

The popularity of MySpace, however, has some downsides. One of the major criticisms that has been directed at the website relates to the amount of personal information that is shared by its members. Since the whole point of MySpace is to introduce strangers to one another, it has become a perfect target for sexual predators and other criminals looking for potential victims. In addition, since its inception, the Internet itself has also been criticized as a venue that encourages people to share more of themselves than they would in a non-virtual environment. The website has been caught up in controversies involving minor children involvement, indecency, and privacy"not the type of environment we’d like our youngest children and teens taking part in. So far, seven men have been arrested in conjunction with a rape and robbery that took place when a woman planned a meeting with the men she had met on the MySpace website. The company’s privacy policy attends to all of these issues but seems to have difficulty enforcing the rules. Not surprisingly, teenagers have easily found ways around the minimum 14-year-old registration age. Let’s look at some of the ways that MySpace is beefing up security to protect teens.

In response to the criticism that has been piling up against MySpace for its negative impact on teens, the networking service has begun cracking down. It reports that it shut down over 200,000 profiles deemed too provocative or owned by users younger than the minimum age of fourteen. The company now plans to launch an advertising campaign in conjunction with the Fox All Access radio network and the New York Post to educate Americans about the dangers of online sexual predators and of sharing too much personal information over the Internet.

Many people interested in the welfare of children and teens have not been satisfied by MySpace’s security actions. Many school and public libraries in the United States have blocked access to MySpace. Furthermore, the United States House of Representatives passed the controversial Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006 on July 28, 2006. The bill, which is pending approval by the Senate, requires schools and libraries receiving particular federal funds to prevent minors from using chat rooms and social networking sites, including MySpace, without supervision.

Beefing up security to protect teens is an important mission that is eliciting the attention and action of many aspects of our society, including schools, legislators, and the technology providers themselves. While it is important for these technology providers, like MySpace, to begin beefing up security to protect teens, it is also necessary for parents to play a prominent role in supervising their teen’s use of the Internet.