thedesertsun.com Online predators target of billOnline predators target of billMySpace, Congress team to keep sites free of sex offenders
Taya Lynn Gray, The Desert SunKatilyn Corl, of Cathedral City has her profile posted on the popular MySpace.com site on the internet. Her father, Rick Corl, has strict rules for his daughter when she uses MySpace to keep her safe.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Tell kids not to share such personal information as names, addresses and the school they attend.
Review your child’s profile often for inappropriate messages or images.
You can find your child’s profile on MySpace by clicking on the "search" mode and entering your child’s name, e-mail address or school.
Parents can have a child’s profile removed by contacting MySpace’s parental help staff, www.WiredSafety.org or www.WiredKids.org.
Parents can install software that can record what kids say and post online. WiredSafety.org recommends programs such as those made by Spectorsoft, which can be found at www.software4parents.com or www.spectorsoft.com.
January 31, 2007
January 31, 2007
WASHINGTON - In this technology savvy world, requiring sex offenders to register just their physical address is just not good enough, several members of Congress said Tuesday.
The lawmakers joined with MySpace.com in unveiling bipartisan legislation that would require sex offenders to also register their online identity - e-mail addresses and instant message user names - with federal officials.
"We have to plug the online loophole. Sex offenders have no business joining social networking communities, especially those popular among teens," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The Justice Department would make the e-mail addresses of sex offenders available to social networking sites, upon request, so they could compare the data with their user profiles. Failure to register new e-mail addresses or IM names would result in fines and/or up to 10 years in prison, under the proposed legislation.
The bill also would make it illegal for someone to misrepresent his or her age on a social networking profile for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity with a minor.
"Our kids are pretty astute when it comes to cruising around on the Internet and it can be very scary," said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, who is co-sponsoring the bill in the House with Reps. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio.
"It's long overdue that we pass this kind of legislation," Chabot said.
MySpace, one of a growing number of popular social networking Web sites, boasts 150 million registered users of which 21 million are children under age 18. Other social networking sites include Friendster.com, Facebook.com and Classmates.com.
User safety tipsThe Web site, increasingly concerned about stories related to the site’s safety, has numerous tips on how to safely navigate it. MySpace executives have teamed with WiredSafety.org to offer these tips:MySpace limits the use to users who are at least 14 years old. But the site has no way of knowing when users lie and give wrong ages.The pages of those under 16 cannot be accessed by persons they do not know or have accepted as friends.Inappropriate images, including those of nudity, are not allowed on the site. Violators have their accounts closed.Never publicly post any personally identifiable information that could be used to find or identify you in real life.What should never be posted: Your real name, address, telephone number, cell number, sports team, health club, or links to Web sites or other profiles that might give this information away.Why this is important: Identify theft. Information can be misused to steal your identity, guess your passwords, cyberstalk or harass you or by predators who really want to hurt you.Don’t reply to spam. At best, they go into a black hole and never get to the sender. At worst, you find yourself now on many more lists because they figured out you read the junk e-mail.Always use a disposable free e-mail address, like yahoo, hotmail or msn. If you run into problems, you can just stop using it and no one can follow you back to your real address - assuming you followed the tips about not sharing too much personal info.Being online does not make you completely anonymous. There are ways that people can discover real life information about the people they meet online.Some hacking programs and Spyware can grab your passwords and credit card information. Use a firewall and anti-virus program and update them automatically. Visit WiredSafety.org or the FTC.gov site for more information.Keep your password a secret. Sharing it can cause huge problems. And don’t use one that’s easy for someone to guess.Have a secret code word with your real life friends that you chat with online. If you are chatting with someone you think you know, but are suspicious if the person on the other side is really them or not, ask them for the password.ThinkB4UClick: Never reply to any attempt to gain personal or banking information from an e-mail that you did not originate.Fake MySpace Logins. It’s possible that someone could redirect you to a page that looks like a MySpace Login page, but really isn’t. When logging into MySpace, always check the URL bar at the top of your browser and make sure you see the MySpace.com domain in the first part of the URL.Treat others with respect, and expect the same from them. Don’t be obnoxious. Online arguments are known as "flaming." These incidents can escalate into off-line harassment. Do not harass others online. If you do it, can get your service revoked.If you ever feel like you’re in real danger from someone online, tell someone you trust and then go directly to your local law enforcement agency. Don’t delete the message. Also, a printout won’t be enough. The police will need the live communication to check out the headers and other coding to trace the sender or poster.Source: MySpace safety tips prepared in collaboration with WiredSafety.org