Can MySpace be good for kids?
As kids continue to flock to sites like MySpace, and the backlash from parents and the media fades, it's time to take a fresh look at social networking.
Make Sure Your Tween Knows How to Stay Safe Online
Have your child follow these basic rules (adapted from Safeteens.com):
1. Never reveal your identity or identifying details.
2. Never get together with someone you've met online unless you've discussed it with your parents. If your parents give their permission, arrange to meet in a public place and bring along a trusted adult.
3. Never respond to messages that make you uncomfortable.
4. Talk to your parents about these ground rules, and any others they might have, before going online.
By Marian Wilde , GreatSchools Staff
Teen Fads and Parental Angst
Ah, the ephemeral nature of teen fads. In a few years' time we've witnessed a complete lifecycle of teen enthusiasm, in this case for social networking sites: The word spreads virally, some bad things happen, the media gets into the act, parents react with fear, and boom, you have the Great MySpace Brouhaha of 2006.
"Web of Risks" and "MySpace, A Dangerous Place" are just two of the many negative headlines from the past year. Reports of predators targeting young girls online, of high school kids advertising parties that quickly spiral out of control, of college students being expelled for posting compromising photos of themselves, have contributed to growing alarm among adults.
But in the process, some who've studied the phenomenon say we've lost sight of the benefits that can be had from the demonized social networking sites. As long as parents talk to their kids about the importance of keeping private information private, and monitor their screen time, these sites may help develop creativity and even reading skills, these researchers say.
MySpace Has Redeeming Qualities?
Yes, say educators and researchers who have quickly moved into the fray. With the public's attitude slowly relaxing, many experts now say social networking sites help develop a child's sense of self and provide avenues for creative self-expression.
Although news reports have noted anecdotal evidence that some of the earliest adopters of MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and Xanga appear to be showing signs of social networking fatigue, new waves of youth are continually supplementing the ranks. "MySpace is still frequently used and its usage is growing exponentially," says Sameer Hinduja, assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University and co-author with Justin W. Patchin of a study on adolescent usage of MySpace.