MySpace is a website that was designed for social networking. While it is intended for individuals 18 years of age and older, the truth is that the majority (at least at this point) of people with MySpace profiles are those under 18. Teenagers in particular have flocked to MySpace are predominately responsible for it's success.
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However there is a downside here. Often, talk of teen sex, drug use and other situations adult situations many parents would prefer their children to read about or be exposed too. What shocks parents the most is to find that their children post their own comments and experiences on without any regard to the repercussions of such self exposure.

One of the most common problems with teenagers (and younger children as well) is their inability to connect what they do today, to their life in the future. It's extremely difficult for teens to see that there are often consequences to their actions or pictures that they post on MySpace and other similar social networking sites.

But for many parents, the largest concern is that the 'profiles' kids create for themselves are not always used for the innocent purposes that the children intend. The internet allows individuals to pretend to be anyone they want. This anonymity becomes a problem when it's used to sexual predators and other dangerous individuals that use MySpace in order to find potential victims. Teenagers are especially vulnerable when it comes to society and peer pressure. This is the age during which many children think that they are invulnerable and will live forever.

But the fact is that it's those types of thoughts that forces teenagers in particular to be the most vulnerable.

Social networking sites like MySpace.com can be used that does in fact help friends to stay connected and help fulfill the socialization issues teens go through, but the fact is that they are also used in a more sinister manner by those internet predators that use sites like MySpace as a hunting ground. In May of 2007 MySpace.com officials confirmed over 30,000 registered sex offenders had they own profiles on MySpace. And many of these indivuduals are pretending to be teens themselves in an effort to 'groom' an unsuspecting child for later molestation or worse.

When parents understand more about MySpace and what opportunities there are through MySpace, the good and the bad, it is easier to understand how to protect children and teenagers from dangers and threats that they may end up facing. The sad truth is that sometimes websites are not as harmless as parents innocently believe them to be. This is problem is made worse because teenagers do not fully explain the type of sites they visit and in the way that they hide their social networking activities because they know that their parents would disapprove.

Instead, children may just tell their parents that they do not understand 'social networking', and blow off their parents concern. But by being proactive, staying informed and staying on top of their teen's online activity, parents are more likely to be able to keep their children safe.

Of course there are dangers on the Internet, and there will always be. The trick for parents is learning how to adopt your child to using the internet in academic and social ways without putting themselves in any type of real and immediate danger.

About The Author
A long time Internet safety for children advocate, Don Schnure is president and CEO of Parental Control Products, LLC, the makers of http://www.teenchatdecoder.com and http://www.pctattletale.com