Many teens and young adults are choosing to log on to myspace.com to make personal webpages. Sensitive information on the internet can be viewed by just about anyone who has access to a computer and the internet. It is important, when teens create these pages to keep in mind the following safety factors. Be sure to talk with your teen about these steps to take to keep themselves safe.

Limit personal information. Refrain from using last names, address or telephone numbers on myspace.com. It is very easy for predators to find teens/young adults with this information. Also refrain from writing personal details in the “about me” section. There are ways to keep it general and fun without giving away too much information about the person on the site. For example, it would not be wise for your teen to give away the name of the park they go to when feeling depressed.

Only add friends that you know. Encourage teens to add only people that they know to their friends list. Adding people who they have never met simply invites trouble. While it may be okay to invite acquaintances, many predators make up profiles and regularly invite young teens to be their friends. It’s very difficult to know the real identity of those you do not know on myspace.com. Anyone with internet access can create an account, so it would be very easy to lie about your age or location on the site. Recent news reports have indicated that teens have been assaulted who have met predators while under the idea that they were forming a friendship with someone the same age.

Adjust your privacy settings in your profile. It is very easy to limit the things that the outside world has access to. For example, when writing a blog, click on the radio button that indicates “for friends only”. This will mean that the general public will not be able to see what has been written, only accepted friends will be able to read the post. It is also possible to make your birthday private, approve comments before they come up on the site and control many of the settings regarding your privacy. To do this, log into the myspace.com and click on “account settings”; you will find a link to “privacy settings”.

It is also possible for the person who is adding you to be required to put in your last name or email address to add you as a friend. This is also located in “privacy settings” and is probably a safe thing to do so that people cannot add you without knowing who you are.

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It is very easy to become a myspace.com addict. Be sure to limit the time that your teens are allowed to spend on the site. Also ask to see their page if you can. Many times parents shy away from checking this site to give their teens some privacy, but you would be surprised what you might find. There are sites on myspace.com that feature photos of underage drinking, talk of drug use and other dangerous activities that teens are engaging in these days. If your teen has a photo or two of one of the above mentioned activities, don’t panic right away. Have frank, open communication with teens regarding these issues. Many times teens blow the things that they do out of proportion to look “cool”.

Luckily, with a myspace account, you have control over which friend invites to accept and which ones to extend invitations to. It is fairly easy to stay safe on myspace.com if you follow the aforementioned steps. Just being aware of these issues is the first step, the most important step though, is to talk to your teen about these tips. Doing this can enable your young adult to be just unique and creative with their personal webpage. It really can be a positive thing.