Missing Persons Clearinghouse
Social Networking Sites & Blogs
Social networking sites
Social networking sites allow users to build and expand social contacts through friends and friends of friends. There are many social networking sites such as Yahoo360, Friendster, Classmates, Monster, FaceBook and MySpace. Social networking sites can be used to find a job, build business contacts, locate old classmates, find a date, make new friends, promote a band, and communicate with friends.
MySpace currently boast over 200 million registered users. MySpace stands out from other social networking sites because of the unique features offered. Not only are users able to post profiles and blogs, but they can also customize their webpage by adding photos, videos and music. Other features offered on MySpace are: instant messaging, email, chat rooms, bulletins, games, classified ads, and forums. Users are able to post and read information on movies, shows, events and bands. MySpace has even sponsored concerts, parties and events, encouraging offline socializing.
Teens like to communicate with each other using social networking sites. Reading personal information about each other helps them decide who to be friends with, and allows for peer feedback about problems they are experiencing, but the personal information that they post can put them at risk to online predators. A teen who is blogging about family problems or feelings of inadequacy provides an open door to predators who will sympathize with the child and attempt to establish a relationship.
A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web - the term is a shortened form of web log. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently.
Blogs usually include profiles, text, photographs, and links between "friends" and interests - and may include video or audio files. Blog Profiles can reveal a lot; blog entries can reveal even more! Also, services usually allow users to easily connect with "friends" - and their "friends;" strangers having similar interests, even by school attended!
Blogging safety tips for parents:
- Establish reasonable online rules with your child and assure that they are followed.
- Pre-screen what your child will be posting to their blog including photos and comments. Make sure it doesn’t contain personal identifiers.
- Monitor your child’s website - confirm that your child has a private, password-protected blog and is obeying the rules of the site (such as the minimum age requirement).
- Warn your child to not reveal feelings and emotions online.
- Remind your child to never meet in person with someone they first met online.
Disclaimer: Many of the links on this page take you to other Internet sites. They are intended to be helpful to persons viewing this site. The presence of these links on this site is not intended to be an endorsement of such sites, and unless specifically indicated to the contrary elsewhere on this site, the Division of Criminal Justice Services does not sponsor, or have any affiliation with these organizations.
Downloadable Publications and Links
- "Blog Beware" (pdf)
- Blogging safety tips for teens (ConnectSafely)
- Information on social networking sites (Microsoft)
- List of social networking sites and the number of registered users (Wikipedia)