MySpace and Online Safety Brian Boies
Agenda • What is MySpace? • Dangers and Realities • Safety Tips
What is MySpace? • “MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. MySpace also features an internal search engine and an internal e-mail system.” Wikipedia.org
What does that really mean? • A constant, fluid yearbook or an interactive social resume • Obvious measure of popularity • Most viewed website in U.S. • 60 Million Monthly Users • Social networking is here to stay
Well over 100 Million accounts • 230,000 new accounts daily • Obviously hard to police • Myspace is by far (80%) the most popular social networking site (others are friendster and facebook) • Age limit of 14 years
In Myspace’s own words it’s for: • Friends who want to talk Online • Single people who want to meet other Singles • Matchmakers who want to connect their friends with other friends • Families who want to keep in touch--map your Family Tree • Business people and co-workers interested in networking • Classmates and study partners • Anyone looking for long lost friends!
Dangers and Realities Context: 70-90% of childhood sexual abuse is committed by “people known to the children”. -Internet sex crimes make up only 1-2% of all sex crimes against children -Challenge to look through the hype and the easy targets to do a realistic risk assesment
In most cases exploitation is considered consensual by the minor • 5% of offenders tried to deceive their victims and 21% misrepresented their sexual motives • See handout: how predators groom their victims
Safety Tips • Keep your identity private (might also keep parents from seeing what’s going on) • Never get together with someone you “meet” online • Never respond to any type of message that is hostile or otherwise makes you uncomfortable • Be wary of anyone you don’t already know in person
If you don’t respond to someone they can’t hurt you • Make sure you know how to report abuse • Don’t share password with anyone (your friends now may not be your friends next week) • Have as little personal information as possible for public viewing • Be honest about age • At home, place computer in central, open area, not child’s room
Easy for kids to do it on their own (either through new account on myspace or another site such as facebook) so keep communication open.