A Mom's Guide to MySpace

What you need to know about this popular website.

Sixteen-year-old Piper is a parent's dream—an excellent student, a leader, and positive role model among her peers at church. Only one thing has ever caused discord in her family: MySpace.com.

Piper insists her parents are being overprotective because they have banned her from this popular social networking site most of her friends have surfed for years. She thinks they've been influenced by media scare tactics that hype horrible stories of teens victimized by people they've met on this website. She also thinks her parents don't know enough about what's really going on at MySpace to make an informed decision.

Piper's mom, Julie, is admittedly cautious about anything that could seriously affect her children's future. She thinks Piper is too young to recognize the dangers associated with MySpace. She worries Piper could post something that might not be appropriate for the eyes of that future employer or college admissions counselor. And, yes, the terrifying media reports have had their effect. Julie just doesn't know enough about MySpace to let Piper venture into what could be a very dangerous situation.

Piper and Julie are at a stalemate. Whenever the topic comes up—which is regularly, because Piper receives invitations from friends to join them on MySpace almost daily—they argue. This divergence of perspectives—a kid's naiveté and enthusiasm versus parental protectiveness and confusion about how the technology works—is at the heart of the MySpace dilemma.

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May 25

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