We have a debate with my 15-year-old daughter about her MySpace profile. She has photos of herself holding a beer bottle, but not drinking it. She says it was a joke and she would never drink alcohol. She also has photos of herself in a bikini in various poses like what you would see in Playboy. Again, she said it was all in fun and no one cares, everyone does it, no big deal. My husband and I were appalled. What do you think?
Dear Prudent Parent,
You are the parent and need to set the ground rules. Make them upfront and clear. It doesn't matter that everyone is doing it. If you feel uncomfortable with the photos being displayed on MySpace, then tell her to take them off.
MySpace and Facebook are sites where people can communicate and share information with friends, see what's going on with their friends, or just look up people. In addition, YouTube videos are often fun additions to their web pages.
However, anyone can view websites on MySpace or Facebook and videos on YouTube. Although one must register to view the MySpace and Facebook sites, it can easily be done. Below are good reasons to not have provocative photos, videos, inappropriate posts, and too much personal information on the web, not just MySpace.
1. Sexual Predators: provocative photos can tempt sexual predators. Child molesters can use personal information from the website to track teenagers, find their home or school, and coincidentally be at the same hangout as the teen.
2. College Rejections: colleges often have access to MySpace and Facebook websites and sexually suggestive photos or videos, foul language, talk of drinking and drugs can risk getting accepted into the school.
3. Job Jeopardized: Inappropriate language, photos, and videos can have a negative affect on your being hired or promoted.
4. Legal Consequences: posting threats to harm someone or perform malicious mischief could have legal consequences.