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by Mike Zazaian September 25, 2006 - 11:00am, No Comments

Excerpt from a MySpace brochure

While millions of youths surf the pages of MySpace.com every day, parents rarely know what their children are doing on the popular social networking site. To change that fact, MySpace is launching a parent awareness campaign with Seventeen Magazine.

While MySpace has become an excellent venue to develop an online personal life, it’s also provided a new avenue for child predators. A 40-year-old man from Utah attempted to convince a 13-year-old New York girl to have sex with him in September. Luckily, the girl’s father had been using internet survaillance software, and was able to intervene. The man was consequently arrested and brought up on charges of soliciting sex from a minor.

And while MySpace can’t be expected to police all such instances like this over their network of over 100 million users, they’re taking measures to help parents do the policing. A new Safety Tips link on the MySpace homepage provides parents with ways to monitor and be aware of their childrens’ online presence.

Awareness brochures will be distributed to some 55,000 schools across the country in October, targeting students in grades 7-12. The effort includes organizations such as Seventeen Magazine, the National School Boards Association, and the National Association of Independent Schools. Said Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer of MySpace:

While technology plays a critical role in tackling the challenges of Internet safety, any measures must be part of a comprehensive solution, and education is an essential component.

[via cnet]