The Hidden Dangers Your Kids Face On

Dennis Faas's picture

If you have children and own a computer with an Internet connection, there's a good chance your kids are on

MySpace is a popular online community where users can post personal information about themselves, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Pictures
  • Where they work
  • Where they go to school

... almost anything at all!

And that's the problem. MySpace is an easy way for people to connect with current friends or rekindle old relationships. Unfortunately, it's just as simple for sexual predators.

A quick search for "Chris" (my name) on MySpace yields at least a few under-18 profiles.

That's a few too many if you're a concerned parent.

To demonstrate the dangers of MySpace, New York Assistant District Attorney, David Frey, regularly walks into schools and shows parents how easy it is for anyone to access information about their children.

To really drive the point home, he pulls up the MySpace Web site of a student at the school. "For a pedophile, this page is just perfect," Frey says as he displays one teenage girl's profile. "She posts her photo and gives her name. Then she posts the name of her high school, her e-mail address, her AOL Instant Messenger name, and all of her interests--the singers and movies she likes." (Source:

Kids 13 and under have always been prohibited from setting up accounts on MySpace, and the Web site displays only partial details for 14 and 15 year olds unless the viewer is on the child's "friend" list.

Now the company is introducing added security measures: Adults 18 and over will no longer be able to access a younger child's full profile by requesting to be added to their "friend" list. However, users under 18 can still view the complete listings of other minors that way.

There's just one huge problem with all of this: What's to prevent people from lying about their age?

Absolutely nothing!

There's no concrete way for the company to verify how old (or young) its users really are.

MySpace registrations are done entirely on the honor system. That means anyone can still access your child's information. A predator obviously won't be above falsifying his age to get what he wants. (Source:

Parents need to educate their kids about the dangers of putting too much personal information on -- or anywhere else on the Internet, for that matter.

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