myspace for parents

MySpace Factoids:
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Just last week it was ranked as the #1 web site which captures 4.46% of all US Internet traffic. Teens spend an average of 15 hours/week on MySpace 33% of parents have seen their child’s MySpace page, only 16% check it on a regular basis 70% of teens said they would feel comfortable with their parents looking at their MySpace page.

Facts gathered from 2 recent studies.

Jesse Vieau Sr. Library Asst., Teen Services 704.973.2718

Matt Gullett Technology Education Librarian 704.973.2725


MySpace for Parents: What is it all about?
What started as a small, music oriented social network just over 3 years ago has exploded into a major virtual world that now has over 89 million people involved. Social networks within this context refer to social computing which is the use of software tools that support social interaction and communication. A few facts gleened from two recent studies … Only 7% of teens interviewed were ever approached by anyone with a sexual intent and hearly all of them simply ignored the person and blocked him from their page. While using MySpace teens find it easier to make friends, feel more honest, and creative, and get emotional support from their online friends. The typical MySpacer has 278 “online friends,” including 37 close friends, more than half of whom they have never met. Nearly half the parents claimed to have limits on their children’s MySpace use, but only 25% of teens said those limits were upheld. Half the parents admit that their child uses the Internet from their bedroom rather than a location where the parent can supervise. For Parents … "Just say no" is likely to be significantly less effective than "Just say know." Cited Study: Adolescents in MySpace: Identity Formation, Friendship and Sexual Predators: Executive Summary

Social Influence Techniques Used Online
( "Virtually all of the Internet risks and concerns are grounded in the negative impact of social influence." 1- Rule of Reciprocity If someone gives you something-a gift, a favor, or a concession-you have an obligation to give something back to that person. It triggers the feeling of indebtedness, which requires a return. 2-Commitment and Consistency Consistency is valued because it leads to trustworthiness- a person who is consistent can be trusted to act in certain ways under certain conditions. Being consistent is also convenient. If we always respond in a certain way to a certain situation, then there is no need to take the time to figure out how to respond. 3-Social Proof People are influenced by what other people think and do. This is used by marketers as "viral marketing." Business Week states that "Viral marketing is a powerful theory." To reduce susceptibility to "group think" requires independence of mind and the willingness to make decisions based on an honest appraisal of the situation-not what others think. If you are in a group that wants to go in one direction and you "gut" is telling you that this is a bad choice, listen to your "gut" and take a close look at the situation. Make your own choices. 4-Liking A person is likable if: • Physical attractiveness= those who are more attractive have more influence. • Similarity= we like people who are like us. • Praise= giving someone a complement works wonders in influencing compliance. Hopefully, parents use this factor frequently with their own children. • Increase familiarity= repeated contact under favorable circumstances can lead to liking. • Association= association with positive things increases the liking factor. Beyond the concerns of dangerous strangers, commercial advertisers are also using this technique as a component of their viral marketing strategies. 5-Authority There is a strong pressure in our society to comply with requests of demands from a person in a position of authority. There are two key questions that one can ask to assess the appropriateness of deference to someone asserting authority who is seeking compliance? Is obedience: • Is this authority truly an expert? Is there independent evidence of this person's expertise and credibility? • how truthful can we expect this expert to be? Is this person in a position where he or she would have something to gain by our compliance? Is there any evidence of self-serving? 6-Scarcity The scarcity is grounded in two factors. When something is more difficult to attain, it is typically perceived to be more valuable. Also if something is less available, the freedom to have it may be lost. Both of these factors stimulate more active resolve to obtain the "thing."


The scarcity principle also relates to actions. If restrictions are placed on engaging in a certain action, then engaging in the action becomes more desirable. The impact of this principle in relation to efforts to manage youth access to pornography through the use of filtering software would backfire by creating an increased level of value for the restricted "thing."

Setting up MySpace:
• What is your motive? In setting up the account one is asked, “I’d like to make space for: dating, serious relationship, friends or networking. It is highly recommended that teens not select dating or serious relationship. Five levels of Safety: 1. Just as when our children were young we still need to reiterate that they “should not talk to strangers” nor “should they ever get into a car with a stranger.” If these basic precautions are followed something bad happening is minimal. Do not for any reason post provocative content. When a teen: • Creates a profile on a social networking site, & Another level of safety comes from not posting information in your profile • Posts or comments on a blog. or elsewhere that identifies where you live, where you go to school, where you go for fun, what your daily schedule is, what upcoming events you plan Reading and writing skills are required. to attend, etc. This has always been a rule to follow for the many years that we have been using and living within the Internet.

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MySpace itself has its own software-embedded safety through account settings, blog settings, picture settings, etc. These settings can be applied to limit who can view your information and posts. Last but not least there’s your brain. Use it when you are online. Meaning think before you publicly post things about you or others. Responsible Account Privacy Settings: Require email or last name to add me as a friend Approve Comments before Posting Hide Online Now No Pic Forwarding Friend Only Blog Comments Friend Only Group Invites Additionally … 14-15 year olds can specify “Who can view my full full profile?” My Friends Only or Anyone under 18 on MySpace What Your Profile Shouldn’t Say About You Interests & Personality (okay to enter) Dating-Related Profile Information It is not recommended that teens use MySpace as a dating service. In a Relationship, Married are the best choices for this. As far as sexual orientation goes, it is best to supply “No Answer” to this one. “No Answer” is best for the Children category. Schools – It is always best to not supply this information on the Internet because it pinpoints your location. Display Name – The only thing that you shouldn’t do with this is again offer up some sort of information that would let someone who doesn’t know you find your actual name and location.


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Photos – Photo Upload and Privacy Settings • • Allow your photos to be viewable by: Only You or Everybody. Picture Policies … In late March 2006, MySpace deleted 200,000 profiles, many because of pornographic content, and as of April 2006, MySpace is actively engaged in reviewing every picture that is posted on


Friends & Comments - One of the most-used features of MySpace is the practice that is nicknamed “friending.” • Friend Privileges – when you accept a friend request, or someone accepts a friend request from you, you have given each other approval to post onto your pages, and to observe content that you have designated as visible only for your friends. Friend Requests from People You Don’t Know – Be careful and make sure that they are someone that you would like to be a friend. Check their friend lists, etc. For complete security against friend requests from people you don’t know, activate the “Require email of last name to add me as a friend” option in your account privacy settings. Comments – When you post comments, you need to be especially sure you don’t post information that could expose you or your friend to risk-information such as: phone numbers, your school or town, where you or your friend lives, where you go to hang out.

Blogging – again with blogging don’t post information that would allow others to locate or find you if they wanted to. One can use the blog privacy setting to only allow certain people to see posts: public, diary, friends, or preferred list. Groups, forums and chat – still follow many of the aforementioned guidelines about personal information and location sharing.

Links and Resources …
MySpace Safety: 51 Tips for Teens and Parents, location of the latest version of this book’s – sort of an executive summary. “Social Influence Techniques Used Online,” by Nancy Willard Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use Net Family News -


Adolescents in MySpace: Identity Formation, Friendship and Sexual Predators: Executive Summary 0-%20Executive%20Summary.pdf The PLCMC Library Loft web site ImaginOn’s Library Loft MySpace