It's the coolest hangout space for teens-but parents might be surprised at what their kids do there. Here's how to help keep them safe online
Many experts note that with the proliferation of technology, banning social-networking sites either at school or at home is unlikely to be effective in any case. "The kid will just go underground,"says Magid. "You can put a filter on a computer, but you can't prevent him from using it on his cellphone or another computer."
Michelle Alden says she's been tempted to ban MySpace from her house many times. The 40-year-old teacher's aide in Idaho City, Idaho, says she is uncomfortable with the site's profile format, as it encourages youngsters to present themselves as if they're looking for sex. Why, she wonders, does the site ask kids to describe their body type and sexual orientation? But instead of trying to forbid the site, she's opted to set guidelines and talk regularly with her 15-year-old daughter about her page, which she uses primarily to stay in touch with friends. "I think it's better to go ahead and have the struggle, because soon enough she's going to be out on her own," she says, "and I only have a few more years to have those conversations with her."
MySpace may not be your space, but you can help make it a safe place for your teen to hang out.