While MySpace is great for making new friends and promoting oneself, there
are several drawbacks in allowing your children to roam freely online
within the MySpace framework.
First and foremost, MySpace profiles are
public. Anything posted on a public profile can be read by other members,
and anybody in the outside world can get to a MySpace profile. Children
often disclose too much personal information (i.e. – name and addresses,
school names, classmates, teachers, birthdates, favorite hobbies) on
profiles, which attract child predators lurking on the site. These
predators seize upon details left in blogs, comments, and personal
profiles to take advantage of these kids when parents aren’t home, or when
kids are at school.
teens love to gossip. The same problems that torment kids at school are
magnified tenfold on MySpace. Gossip, malicious rumors, bullying and
racial slurs are posted on a public forum to an audience of millions. This
can seriously lead to problems in the future where there is a possibility
that a college denies admission or an employer looks elsewhere in
recruitment. Saying anything now can hurt later on.
people aren’t who they say they are. A valid e-mail is the only
requirement for membership on MySpace and any other identifying
information can be faked. There are no controls in place within the
MySpace system to actively check the validity of current members. The only
time somebody is caught is when MySpace explicitly catches someone
violating its policies. Thus, child predators can masquerade as teens,
gain their trust, and use it to their advantage. Likewise, teens lie about
their ages and get access to materials otherwise denied to them.
The lack of parental controls and the relatively easy access to
inappropriate materials have prompted some parents and schools to entirely
remove access to the site from home and school computers.