MySpace is one of the most popular Web sites in the world, especially among teens. Teens can set up a personal profile and customize it with pictures, designs, music, links and personal interests. Profiles of 14- and 15-year-olds are automatically set to private, meaning only users they are "friends" with can read their profiles. However, anyone can view the profiles of people 16 years of age and older.
Users can also leave each other comments. Sometimes these are personal comments, but they can be read by anyone who views the page. IM (instant messaging) is private, meaning that only the person you IM can read your comment, but MySpace comments are public domain.
There are also stalkers on MySpace who pretend to be people who they are not. Even if your profile is set to private, there are ways for people to view your profile. What happens on MySpace doesn't always stay on Myspace.
There are safe and unsafe ways to use myspace. Among unsafe uses:
- Gossiping: The person being gossiped about, or your school, might find out and it could be seen as a form of harassment.
- Posting personal information that exposes you.
- Posting inappropriate pictures: this can attract strangers and unwanted attention to your profile.
Even though you may think of your profile as your own personal space, that only means you control what you post on it -- not what others post on it, not who sees it, and not what happens if you do something unsafe.
Neither blogs nor Myspace can ever be completely deleted. Even after you delete your account, screen captures can trace back to your page forever. Also, the comments you posted on others' pages will stay there as long as their accounts are active. Never post something you do not want seen when you are applying for a job, or something that could embarrass you later in life.
By Julia Ransohoff, high school student writer; and Katie Ransohoff, college student writer.