ConclusionMost teenagers are intelligent, vibrant people who understand the consequences of their actions. They don’t necessarily need to be deprived of participating in this phenomenon but they do need some guidance in what they should watch out for while on MySpace. Parents and children need some guidelines to help them understand the good and bad side of MySpace and how to navigate it.

Guidelines for Parents

1. Make sure the computer your child is using is in a public place, such as the living room , and not in their private bedroom. Placing the computer in a group area will allow parents to see exactly what their teenager or young adult is doing online and allow them to monitor the activities on the computer.

2. Don’t allow your teenager to password protect their identity on the computer. Parents should have full access to the computer to monitor the child and know exactly what your teen is doing on the computer.

3. Talk to your teen and insist that no compromising personal information is added to their profile such as their last name, school they attend, place of employment, address, phone numbers, date of birth, or where they hang out.

4. Talk to your teen about not using a real photo of themselves. If they must have a photo advise them to use a fake or modified photo or an anime (popular Japanese artistic drawing). This provides some anonymity. Their real friends will already know what they look like.

5. If you suspect your teen is doing something inappropriate online, try to find their profile and talk to them about it. If they aren’t forthcoming about it, you could install parental filtering software or a keylogger to change their minds.

6. Ask your teen not to interact with people who are over 18 unless they know them personally. They may end up receiving some material that was meant for adults instead. Although, a person’s age could be forged, most predators will probably fake their age to be younger instead of older.

7. If you are over 18, don’t flirt with minors. Be an adult.

Guidelines For Teens and Young Adults

1. Build your site keeping it PG-rated. Avoid inappropriate comments, sexual imagery, and adult themes. This will keep your parents satisfied and also keep your site from being taken down by management or others who find it inappropriate.

2. Don’t list the city where you live or any other personally identifiable information.

3. Never use MySpace to threaten or abuse anyone. Your presence on MySpace can be tracked by IP address and other means. Don’t do anything illegal or there can be consequences.

4. Never share your MySpace email address with anyone or your profile may be the target of hacking if anyone discovers your password.

5. Don’t try to circumvent access restrictions to MySpace or other sites that your school may have in place. Doing so may lead to disciplinary actions from your school.

6. Avoid indirect links to adult web cams or adult-oriented sites. Such links can bring the wrong person to your site or be reason for your site being banned by MySpace.

7. Don’t be someone you are not. If you are 16, be sixteen and don’t try to act 25. You may not like the outcome.

8. Don’t judge a profile only by the comments on a page. Many people with hundreds of friends may not have the time or energy to delete questionable posts with objectionable material made by so-called friends.

9. You don’t need to accept all friend requests. Be sure to deny or block users that harass you, spam you, or look suspicious. Use your privacy settings to hide your online presence and only accept friends that you know.