We’ve all seen the internet social networking sites like MySpace and Xanga. They’re basically glamorized blogs. The webpages list information provided by the user, such as name, birthday, city and state they live in – the list goes on and on. What a lot of parents don’t realize is that kids are filling in not only what town and state they live in, but what school they attend, and uploading pictures of themselves.
While all of this seems harmless enough – these social networking sites are a pedophile’s paradise. With all of that information, all a sex offender really needs is gas money. Child safety experts have been concerned about the amount of information children are posting on sites such as Myspace and Xanga, noting that some underage members even included their sexual desires, amongst the list of information that could be used to locate them. Top 5 Sites To Buy Instagram Followers in 2020 will deliver complete information for the promotion of the products. The decision of the person should be right for the purchase of followers from reputed sites. It will increase the sale of the products.
MySpace was forced to change its policy so that adults cannot interact with children after Nathan Contos, a 27 year-old, pleaded no contest to charges that he molested a 14 year-old girl he met on MySpace. But is it really enough? Even though Myspace has an age requirement of 14, what’s stopping children from simply doing a little math, and upping their age a few years?
Xanga was recently slapped with a $1 million penalty for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. They were guilty of repeatedly allowing children under 13 to sign up and use their service without parental consent. And it wasn’t a few accounts that slipped through the cracks – there were 1.7 million accounts created by members under the age of 13.
Xanga CEO John Hiler emailed a statement to reporters that said: “Xanga has long been committed to making its site safer for its members. When these issues came to our attention, we instituted a stronger, more comprehensive safety and compliance program.”
MySpace requires that members enter their birthdate, which can be skirted by simply doing a little third grade math and coming up with a year that would make the user old enough to join. Xanga, however, only has a box to check to confirm you are over 13 – and the box still accepts you even though you entered a birthdate that indicates you are under 13. No math skills required.
Neither site has a good system for keeping children from plastering their personal information all over the internet, but in addition to the fine, Xanga has also been ordered to provide monitoring to the FTC to ensure there are no future violations.
It’s fair to say that both Xanga and MySpace have some responsibility to their members, but the biggest responsibility lies at home. Parents and guardians of minor children should view these online blogs and social networking pages their children are making, and know what information is available for the world to see.
Not sure if your child has a weblog or social networking page? Look at the history of the computer they use. Also, look at the favorites. If your child has a Myspace or Xanga page, chances are they saved it to the favorites on the computer they use for easy access. Also, many children aren’t good at emptying the computer’s cookies (a message given to a web browser by a web server – the browser stores the message in a text file) and deleting the history. If you aren’t sure where to look for history and cookies ask someone you know that is computer savvy.
The more we know about what our children are doing on the internet, the easier it will be to protect them. Social networking and weblog sites offer kids a way to interact with friends – and make new ones – but we must also inform our children about the dangers of putting too much information on the internet. We spent countless hours teaching them to never talk to strangers on the street, and with the growth of technology those lessons must be taught again, on another level.