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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get your kids off Myspace

It's now time to get your kids off Myspace.

After various US states forced the Rupert Murdoch-owned firm to identify convicted sex offenders with profiles on the social networking site, they were horrified to discover that nearly 30,000 perverts had profiles on the site, which is popular with teens and even younger kids.

This is after Myspace had already removed 7,000 profiles of convicted sex offenders from the site. And this figure only includes American sex offenders, not those from any other country.

What's even more concerning is that word about using Myspace to contact underage kids seems to have gone out among the pervert world. How else to explain the quadrupling of the number of sex offenders on the site in the past two months?

Its rival in Ireland and the UK, Bebo, seems to be somewhat more serious when it comes to online safety of the underage. They appointed Irishwoman Dr Rachel O'Connell as their safety officer some time ago, and this week they introduced a set of educational resources to promote the safe and responsible use of social networking across its user community.

Which is not to say that I'd recommend permitting your children to spend hours unattended on any social networking site. But kids will be kids, and if they must be on a site like this, then it's clearly safer that they use Bebo.

And of course, it's of the utmost importance that parents involve themselves in their children's online lives, and inform themselves about the risks involved. Nothing makes a child safer in any walk of life than their feeling able to speak to and confide in their parents about everything.


gimme a minute said...

Quality post, Mr Skinner.
Shocking, yet not hugely surprising about My Space. And a nicely put summation of a parent's imterweb responsibilities.

JC Skinner said...

Cheers, Gimme.
Parents have an enormous role to play in their children's lives, online nowadays being as important as offline.
I'd urge everyone, be they parents, kids, or otherwise, to have a look at the bebo safety guidelines I linked to above.
They're quality advice, no matter what your age or level of online involvement.