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The most important information on this website is on this page. But, I want to warn you that this is the longest page on this site. Please be patient as you look through the information below, since the page is so long. The information was taken from several different types of sources. Some is from news reports, some from articles and some from unknown sources. As always, I try to give credit for the sources I use. Sometimes information comes in without listing the source from which it was taken.
If you know of information that needs to be on this site send it to me by e-mail. I ask that you include the source of the information.
The title, and the information on this page, warn about the dangers of myspace.com. But, it is not the only one to keep your children away from. Others include: xanga, friendster, facebook and youtube. These are not the only ones, but are the ones we hear about the most. I advise everyone of any age to stay away from these "social networks" because of the dangers listed below.
In July 2007 Myspace removed 29,000 child sexual predators from its site. Myspace used lists of known sexual predators to find them. The predators had used their real names and information when getting an account with myspace.com. Myspace has over 100 million users in it's database. I wonder how many child sexual predators are in the myspace.com database because they used fake names and personal information. Wouldn't you, as a parent, like to know how many of the more than 100 million users on Myspace are child sexual predators and how many of them are "grooming" your child for a sexual encounter or worse?
While you are processing those facts, just think how many of these sick perverts are using myspace, xanga, friendster, facebook, youtube and other "social networks" to lure your innocent kids into their evil world. If you don't pay attention to these dangers and keep your children away from these websites, it is likely your child will be lured into trouble by one of these predators. The statistics say it is likely your child has already been in contact with one of these predators and doesn't know it, yet. What will happen if you don't take charge of your child's safety?
Here are ten tips to help safeguard your child against online dangers:
1. Don't ban your kids from using the Internet. That might only increase their desire to use it, and they could attempt to get online behind your back.
2. Use filtering software: it blocks dangerous websites from your kids. It's not perfect though, so make sure to visit Web sites with your child whenever you can.
3. Do research and take classes to understand how computer and Internet technology works. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to protect your kids.
4. Put your computer in a common area of your house where privacy won't be expected.
5. Talk to the parents of your children's friends. Most of them likely have computers, too.
6. Explain to your kids that the Internet is not private and they shouldn't post anything about themselves that they wouldn't want everyone to know about.
7. Also let your children know that they also shouldn't post any private information about their friends.
8. Tell your kids to let you know immediately if anyone has approached them or sent them inappropriate content.
9. If your child minimizes the browser window whenever you come in or receives phone calls from people you don't know, those are potential red flags. Be aware of them!
10. If you suspect that something is wrong, contact the authorities and your Internet service provider.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2006The Dangers of MySpaceHugh Hewitt points us to this chilling account in today's Los Angeles Times:
Thirteen men, including an off-duty California Highway Patrol lieutenant, have been arrested in an Internet sting operation aimed at luring would-be molesters to a Laguna Beach apartment where they expected to rendezvous with teenage girls...
The men are accused of contacting adults posing as 12- or 13-year-olds through popular websites such as MySpace.com. Members of a citizens group called perverted-justice.com, which has worked with law officers nationwide to catch would-be child molesters, chatted with the men and alerted Laguna Beach police, authorities said, whenever a man suggested a sexual rendezvous.
Parents, please be aware of the dangers of online communities such as MySpace.com. There are sexual predators lurking.
The above is from: http://www.martinmusings.blogspot.com/2006/02/dangers-of-myspace.htm
The Facts About MySpace
By Kimmy Powell
Even if your children dont have an account, they've certainly heard enough about it through word of mouth. The latest hangout for tweens and teens isn't the mall in downtown or any particular club, but rather the chaotic world of cyberspace, at a website called MySpace.com. As the hottest social networking site on the web, MySpace has accumulated an estimated 54 million users in just three years of existence, with many users falling within the teen and twenty-something crowds and approximately 19% under the age of 17. MySpace is a wonderful place to meet others of like mind and interest, but with this sharing of interests come other dangers that are heightened by the unregulated nature of the Internet and the ready availability of personal information online.
Teens are constantly looking for places to hang out, away from parents and school. MySpace gives them just that - a place to socialize with others of similar interests and tastes. The biggest attraction in using MySpace is its ease of use and the number of friends one can meet online. Setting up an account in MySpace is free and easy. The only requirements are that users must be at least 14 years of age.
The information needed to start an account includes:
* Valid e-mail address
* First and last name
* Password for the account
* Zip code
* Date of birth
* Whether or not to make the date of birth public
* Agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policies
Once users agree and provide the requested information, they are invited to create personalized profiles. Profiles can include pictures, videos, or music. Members can link their profiles with other "friends" on MySpace. They can create shareable blogs (journals). Friends or strangers can post comments to these profiles, with users doing likewise on other profiles. Members can form buddy lists with groupings of friends and interesting people. Kids who otherwise have trouble socializing with their peers on a school campus will like the appeal of MySpace, where there is no face-to-face interaction required, no popularity contests, no need to hide behind a mask. You are who you are, or who you think you are.
The Dangers of MySpace
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.
Secondly, 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.
Thirdly, people arent 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.
Increasing surveillance or outright banning your kids from using MySpace may seem like a safe bet, but it can breed rebellion and worse. Kids with existing accounts can hide profiles so that parents can't access them. If your child wants to access MySpace, your child will find a way.
So, how do you prevent your kids from becoming unwitting victims to the murky waters of MySpace? CyberTipline, an organization that works to prevent the exploitation of children, recommends establishing lines of communication and trust with your teen and educating yourself about the world of MySpace. In fact, awareness is the key to prevention.
* Make sure kids are aware of issues of online safety. Discuss with them what they can and cannot do online.
* Provide an open environment where your children can share and report what they encounter online. If you react negatively and take away their Internet privileges at the slightest infraction, you're not creating a place of trust. Kids will be afraid to come to you with legitimate concerns if they feel they cannot trust you.
* Be reasonable and try to understand the issues your children are facing. Remember, parents were once children too.
* Tell your children to avoid putting personal information onto profiles or online blogs. Let them know that leaving too much personal information can come back to haunt them.
* Find out everything you can about MySpace. Educate yourself on the features and potential hazards of having an account.
* Monitor what your kids do online. Search on Google by email address, name, nicknames or school names and see what you find.
* Turn the online experience into a family adventure. Ask your children about the latest happenings online. Have them show you the hotspots on the net and what topics theyre currently interested in.
* Dont believe the person behind the profile. Make sure your child understands that anybody can create an account on MySpace and lie about who they really are. Communication with your children is the best way to make your child aware of online dangers. Most kids avoid doing things online that draws unwanted attention. Instead of banning children from the site when they do something wrong, sit down and talk about common sense. By keeping open channels of communication open on both sides, youll be happier for it.
What You Need to Know Before Your Kids Sign On
MySpace.com Dangers:Before you let your children loose on the internet there are some hard facts you need to know.
Today's online environment has become a place of individual expression, social interaction, education and much more.
The internet and its social networks have indeed opened up a world of possibilities for children and teens. As a result, your child has a space that they can say and do pretty much anything they want - and they do.
The global phenomenon of MySpace.com is an expansive "social network" that puts teens in touch with other teens at a click of a button; and owes its success to the basic concept of allowing people to build a community of people who they believe are like themselves.
The problem with this social network and others like it, is it provides predators with all the information they need to find, track and contact your child in person.
Pedophiles and predators adopt a pattern of behavior known as grooming. This is where they gain the trust of the child, gain information about them and work there way into a position of power.
This "grooming" process would usually take time however with the teen"s information readily available at the click of a mouse and simple and free tools online, online predators have access to all the tools they need to speed up the process.
MySpace makes it even easier because it allows users to search for specifics when it comes to their other users. You can do an age, area, school or community specific search.
Predators can specifically target teens simply by searching for them in a specified area or age group.
For example, a search for 15-year-old boys in a specified area could turn up literally hundreds of listings with locating, identifying and personal information.
Many teens also post photos of themselves and friends making it easy for them to be identified and targeted.
A typical MySpace.com profile provides valuable information to a online predator because in MANY instances, kids just are not cognizant about the dangers of the information that they provide on their profiles.
For example, a teen"s online profile is more then likely going to list the area the teen lives in, what school they go to, where they hang out, the names of their friends and their interests as well.This is exactly the type of information a predator will use to gain the location and confidence of your child.
Of course, the MySpace.Com guidelines are clear about internet safety and encourage their users to adopt safety principals, and they do their best to monitor and police the site but the fact is many teens do not heed the warning.
MySpace and others like it can provide a positive social space for your teen to express communicate and socialize.
Blogs can help build self-esteem, communication, and language skills. They provide a unique opportunity to voice an individual opinion and receive feedback for it. These are all great ways for your teen to interact but only if you can ensure their safety.Key things you can do as a parent to minimize the risk to your teen includes education and monitoring.
First things first just like stranger danger, road safety, drug and alcohol awareness you need to make internet safety a priority.
Educating your children in strategies for internet safety is essential. You cannot watch them all the time and often they will be using a public computer at school or at a café.
Be clear about the rules and guidelines for internet use in the home. Be absolutely clear about the rule of not giving out personal information online.
Ideally, if your child is using MySpace or blogs or online communities, then you should ask for the web address so that you can monitor the content.
Of course, this is often easier said than done as teens use the space to express things they may not want their parents to read. If you find this to be the case, remind your child that ANYTHING they post online is available to anyone.
If you are unsure of what you child is doing online you can use parental control software that offers internet monitoring. These sorts of Parental control tools should allow you to monitor your childs internet use 24/7.
You may just be curious and concerned but it is better to know so that you can prevent any dangerous liaison.
For more information on how you can learn more about MySpace, and how you can protect your child when they use MySpace you should visit: "MySpace for parents"
The above is from: http://www.teenchatdecoder.com/myspace-book.htm
Many Parents Aren't Aware Of Danger On MySpace.com
Suzanne McCarroll, Reporting
(CBS4) DENVER A local investigator whose job is to patrol cyberspace says parents of teens don't have the luxury of being naive about the Internet these days.
A teen who unknowingly posts too much information about themselves on the Web might be positioning themselves so they are only a click away from a pedophile, and parents might not even know there's a risk.
That's why it's important to monitor teens' behavior in cyberspace, and to be aware of how popular Web sites like MySpace.com work.
As an example, CBS4 demonstrated how easy it would be to track down a local high schooler through their cyber profile.
MySpace.com hasn't replaced cell phones as the main means of adolescent communication, but it certainly is vying for equal time and space. At almost any gathering of teens, you'll find masses of MySpace.com users.
MySpace.com is part online diary, part scrapbook, part guestbook with entries coming in from other MySpace.com users. With a 1.5 million images loaded daily, the site has more visits a day than eBay, Google or Amazon.
Many teens who use MySpace.com post very personal details about themselves, including their pictures, phone numbers and names of family members."It's fun to put pictures on it and to decorate your page and stuff," one teen told CBS4.
Mike Harris, an officer with the Jefferson County district attorney's office, said this is what makes MySpace.com a spot where pedophiles can easily find victims. Harris said he's worried about the mentality of teens who post such information about themselves online."(Dangerous people) can't really harm you because they really can't reach you," another teen told CBS4.
Harris calls online meeting spots like MySpace.com the "street corner of our society."
"We, as parents, say 'Don't talk to strangers,'" Harris said. "No teen would talk to strangers, but yet (they're) doing it on MySpace.com."
With the permission of the parents of one area teen names Taryn, CBS4 attempted to locate her simply via the information Taryn had posted on her profile on MySpace.com.
It took the CBS4 crew no time to look up the address of her high school, to drive there, to spot the waiting school buses and then to watch for the girl the crew had seen on the Internet as she walked out of her school. A stalker or pedophile would have no trouble following Taryn's bus to the stop near her home.Taryn's parents told CBS4 they thought MySpace.com was just a local Web site that was accessible only to local high schools."I was under the mistaken impression it was a local Web site," her father said. "(When I found out) I didn't like it at all. I assumed it was in a closed circle that she allowed her friends access to."
"It's scary," her mother said.
"It comes down to educating the parents," Taryn's father said. "We're the naive ones now."
After seeing the ease with which someone could track down their daughter, Taryn's parents changed some rules. They insisted that she lock her profile, meaning that only friends with a password can access it. They also always go with her when she meets in person someone who she has met online.
Taryn's parents said that has drawn some protests, but they want the children to understand that they "aren't doing this just to be mean."
Taryn still spends hours on MySpace.com, but she provides less personal information.
Parents concerned about this issue should check their child's profile and make sure their addresses, school names and their phone numbers are not listed.
Another thing to consider is keeping the computer in a common room so parents can constantly check sites their children are visiting.
MySpace.com says it employs a staff of 12 who do nothing but look at all the images uploaded each day for inappropriate photos. MySpace.com also released a statement last week saying it warns young users not to post personally identifiable information.
The above is from: http://www.cbs4denver.com/topstories/local_story_044195458.html
'Kiss me, touch me, feel me, rape me'
By Rebecca Hagelin
Posted: February 28, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
"Kiss me", "Touch me", "Feel me", "Rape me" - the invitations flashed across the photo of a scantily clad young woman on one of the most popular teen Web hangouts in the world - MySpace.com.
Techno-hussies and innocent children just enjoying the latest method to socialize with their friends are falling victim because they are sharing very personal, often provocative and trashy information on MySpace.com, which is quickly becoming a sexual predator's playground.
So rampant are the reports and allegations linking sex-crimes and even murder to activity on MySpace that producers at "America's Most Wanted" are looking into the connection. But parents shouldn't need any more evidence or excuses - you've got to talk with your kids about online safety, and take measures to protect them.A sampling of the current cases under investigation should be enough to take decisive action today:
* In February, a 14-year-old New Jersey girl was found dead in a dumpster after arranging a meeting with a stranger on MySpace.
* A 15-year-old California girl was abducted in December and found murdered in January. Her MySpace page included personal contact information and lots of activity.
* Hartford, Conn., officials are investigating eight sexual assault cases after teenage girls met men on MySpace.
* In Lafayette, La., four teen girls were sexually assaulted by a local pervert who found them on MySpace.
* In another Louisiana case, a predator lay in wait for a teen girl in the parking lot of her place of employment, which he had found on her profile page.Kids and adults alike have got to understand that their information on MySpace can viewed around the world by anyone at anytime, but the danger lies in the fact that although the Web is "world wide," it is also very local.
Here's what I mean: I typed in my zip code on MySpace, and in seconds up popped 75 pages, with 40 entries each, of 18 to 30-year-old single women who said they are seeking a relationship - and every one of them lives in my zip code. It's important to note that I only searched for entries with photographs - and boy, did I get photographs - one was just of a girl's breasts; most were provocative; and virtually everyone of them appeared to be between 12 to 25 years old. (MySpace claims only those 14 and older can use the site, but all a user has to do is lie about their age).
I wanted to get a taste of the potential immediate threats, so I clicked on the Justice Department's website, which provides detailed information on registered sex offenders (i.e., those who have already been caught, convicted and released back into the public in other words, only those we know about) and entered local zip codes. The results were more than disturbing: Up popped the names and faces of 10 convicts who live in my neighborhood, and scores who live in my town. Now you realize how easy it is for perverts, convicted or not, to find your child.
It's high time we adults realize that although the world has changed, many of the tried and true methods of protecting our kids have not. Tips like: Don't talk to strangers (even if they are online) and don't ever give out personal information. But we've got to go much further. It's not enough to remind our kids to watch out for the guy in the dark trench coat lurking on the edge of the school playground, we've got to realize that the guy in trench coat is now in our sons' and daughters' bedrooms live and personal through the unfiltered Internet.
The good news is that the pervert and all his ugly friends and addictive pornographic perversions can easily be locked out of your home in just a few minutes by obtaining a reliable Internet filter. There are many great filters, but I use the one from BSafe.com
because it's inexpensive (about $50 a year) and constantly updated to keep up with the ever-clever predators who cyber-stalk our kids. It also blocks out sites like MySpace so it doesn't have to become an issue in your home.
But beware: One of the dangers of a site like MySpace is that your kids' friends can post your child's personal photo and information without permission. For more great tips on how to protect your kids online, visit Web Wise Kids, an organization on whose board I'm proud to serve.
If you're familiar with my weekly column, my website - HomeInvasion.org
- and my book, "Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That's Gone Stark-Raving Mad," then you know I frequently write about the connection between sloppy parenting, the moral breakdown of our society and how it all leads to shattering the innocence of our children, often placing them in physical danger, too.
These are heavy, difficult issues to talk about, but every time I give a speech about our modern toxic culture, I am inundated with questions from desperate parents who awake from their techno-stupor and realize that active parenting is more important today than perhaps any time in our nation's history.
Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation and author of "Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture that's Gone Stark Raving Mad." Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Heritage Foundation.
It's dangerous to think that your family and friends are the only ones checking out your MySpace page. Because it is a public page, you should be careful what kind of information you post about yourself and who you let into your circle of friends.
Two danger areas in a member's profile provide far more information than they probably realize. The first is where the member goes to school (or went to school) and the other is the list of comments from friends. Online predators can learn quite a bit about someone just by keeping an eye on what their friends say.
Children should be taught the dangers of exposing too much personal information in any online community such as MySpace, and parents need to follow up to make sure they're not. If you're not careful, you can share too much information and find a MySpace predator right at your door, or where you hang out! That's why we constantly recommend internet monitoring software like Spector Pro and IamBigBrother. With tools like these, you can KNOW EVERYTHING that your child is doing on the internet.
No Age Verification Process
Currently, MySpace offers no means of conclusively verifying the age of new members. It is definitely not an uncommon thing for an underage minor to obtain membership despite the sites minimum age restriction of 14 years old. The younger a child is, the more prone they are to being taken advantage of.
In all fairness, this problem is not isolated to MySpace. It is very difficult to verify the age of anyone on the internet without an extensive process. The best solution would be some type of credit card verification system. This would almost guarantee that a parent is involved in the transaction. Obviously, online communities do not want to make it difficult to gain new members, so this is never likely to happen.
MySpace Discussion Groups
One of the major activities members can participate in are Discussion Groups. There are a variety of fun and interesting Groups such as sports, music, cars, etc., but there are also some very questionable Groups as well. Groups such as "Transexual Lovers" and "Montana Organized Crime" (devoted to Tony Montana the crime boss hero in Scarface) are not what I would call wholesome or family friendly. The language in many of these Groups is often X-Rated and rebellious.
Although MySpace membership is needed to join these groups, view uploaded photos and participate in the discussion, it is not required to view what others are discussing. What's more, even if your child is a member of one of these Groups, it can be virtually impossible to find out. The search functions currently available on MySpace do not allow you to see who is active in which groups.
You might be surprised!
Parents who track MySpace and other online activity that their kids are involved in, are often surprised to see exactly where they've been! Most kids are pretty good, but they are always curious. Many times the trouble they get into is because they don't know when to NOT follow a link!
Unfortunately, the only real way parents can have peace of mind is by monitoring their kids internet activity. Whether or not your children avoid the dangers of MySpace, is something you can only know for sure by seeing where they've been.
The above is from: http://www.myspace-safety.org/myspace-dangers.aspx.
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