MySpace Develops Parental Monitoring Software

    January 17, 2007

In recent times, MySpace and sexual predators have become closely associated terms in the minds of parents and lawmakers across the nation. The social networking site is currently developing software designed to allow parents to more closely monitor their children’s MySpace activities.

The software, entitled Zephyr, will store the name, age, and location data that their children input into their MySpace profiles. The software will also alert parents anytime that information changes, and will be stored in a password protected file on the hard disk which can also be accessed remotely.

The software, however, does nothing to actually prevent the children from entering fraudulent information into their profiles.

Pete Cashmore gives his breakdown of Zephyr:

In truth, the software doesn’t do much at all, but it does transfer one crucial responsibility from MySpace to the parent: checking to see if a teen has entered a correct age. 14 and 15 year olds often enter an age of 100 so that their profiles aren’t automatically set to private – that fact has caused headaches for stat tracking companies, as we’ve mentioned before (see why most MySpace users are over 35). Perhaps even more importantly, it forces parents and children to talk about MySpace, which might give the parents a better understanding of the service.

Wow. Parents communicating with their children; it seems like such a bourgeois concept, doesn’t it?

Of course, parent/child communication is ultimately the best defense against online predators. Right now, the minimum age requirement to sign up for a MySpace account is 14 years of age. Profiles of MySpace members under the age of 16 are supposed to be hidden from anyone 18 and over, but a hack was posted in mid-2006 that seemingly bypassed that restriction.

Try as it might, Zephyr will only serve to document the problem. The burden of addressing MySpace misuse ultimately falls on the shoulders of the parents.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.