However, security issues have also become a bigger consent as most social networking websites such as MySpace allow registering users as young as 14, thus leaving room for children to be exploited by predators, sex maniacs or pedophiles which using the sites to meet children and innocent girls. Other issues include cyber-bullying and privacy as the profile can be found by practically anybody once put online, including potential employer.
CNet Crave has posted a guide on how to protect your children and make sure they stay safe when online at MySpace or Bebo, which should be applicable to other networking sites. The guidelines are:
- Report to the site to take down their profiles if you found your younger children are using Bebo, as the minimum age for Bebo users is 13, and 14 for MySpace.
- Make sure no private information including name, age, address, email address, phone number and photos are given out by your children. A secondary email can be used for Bebo account too, so that if they do have problems they can simply ditch that email address and continue using their main one.
- Educate your children so that they’re aware that people are not always who they seem online, and the dangers of meeting someone they’ve met online in person. They should not give out personal information or accept anybody as a friend on their contact list unless they’re real life friends, and should be accompanied by somebody if they insist to meet stranger.
- Make sure of ‘Report Abuse’ on the members’ profile in Bebo, or ‘Contact MySpace’ on the bottom of each page to report potential danger. Or you can report it on the CEOP.
- Educate your children so that they’re aware of the importance of privacy. Any information they wrote can be found by anybody if they set their homepage to be public thru search engine, including potential employer.