The June 30th article “Can this man make MySpace safe for kids?” in Fortune magazine details some of the recent changes at MySpace.com since the company owning it hired Hemanshu Nigam to promote safety and stem a potential tide of lawsuits resulting from LMIRL DSN exchanges (LMIRL = let’s meet in real life, DSN = digital social networking.). According to the article:
MySpace has for some time had basic safety policies in place to protect children: No one under the age of 14 can have a profile on the site. And those aged 14 and 15 have their pages automatically set as private – viewable only by friends they designate.
Another safeguard was announced in June, when MySpace began requiring that users over 18 must know the full name or e-mail of a 14- or 15-year-old before contacting them.
Of course these “safeguards” are easily circumvented by a young person who lies about their age when they register for a MySpace account. As Kevin and Dale Farnham note in their book “Myspace Safety: 51 Tips for Teens and Parents,” there is no substitute for frequent and in-depth face to face communication.
Is MySpace safer today or more “appropriate” and less offensive than it was several months ago? I don’t think so, personally. The fact that more adults are aware of MySpace and other DSN websites is a step forward, however. Now the conversation needs to shift to not only discuss the dangers, but also discuss the opportunities. When I was in San Antonio last week working with a group of about 40 high school age students from low SES neighborhoods, about 3/4 of the students all reported having MySpace accounts and regularly using them along with instant messaging. This came as no surprise: these are digital natives. The question we should be asking is not just “do you have and use a MySpace account,” it is “how are your teachers and parents working with you to learn about DSN sites like MySpace, and how to safely use them?” That’s a question I don’t think many communities are exploring yet, but we all need to.
Technology solutions, like creating an RSS feed to monitor your child’s MySpace activity, is a good idea as well. (Thanks Miguel.) But I maintain F2F conversations are still the only real answer to the problems raised by DSN use.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!
Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"
On this day..
- Learn About e-Publishing at October 24-25, 2014 OKC Writing Conference - 2014
- "My gut told me to say yes" - 2013
- What do we do for third tier schools? - 2010
- Zed's Ethiopian food and Alexander: 1.5 Years Later - 2009
- The Magic of Digital: Collaborative Interaction in Teacher Professional Development - 2008
- The Transformational Power of Social Media Technology in Learning: Inspiring Stories from the Classroom and Beyond! (Idit Caperton) - 2008
- Where in the World is... GeoRSS for the Classroom - 2008
- Python for Fun Introductory Programming by Michelle Hutton - 2008
- Grassroots Creativity: Helping Everyone Become a Creative Thinker by Dr. Mitchel Resnick (MIT Media Lab) - 2008
- links for 2008-07-02 - 2008