TX Attorney General Criticizes My Space for "Lip Service" on Online Safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/14/06

TX Attorney General Criticizes My Space for "Lip Service" on Online Safety

On Thursday, social networking site, MySpace, announced it will partner with celebrities to create public safety announcements on Internet safety. They will also offer a safety guidebook for parents you can download.  Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, says these aren't real safety measures. 

But is the real issue about Internet sites taking responsibility for your kids activity or should parents be the ones to implement the "real safety measures."  One parent thinks, it all starts at home.

What if I told you your child was about to go to a party with 93 million people invited? Would you let he or she go not knowing who was going to be there? "You wouldn't send them to a street corner, you wouldn't send them to a bar...why don't you pay attention where they're going on the Internet," said Kristen Ross, mother of a 13 year-old girl.

Leah uses My-Space.  Even though you have to be at least 14 years-old to use it,  Kristen knows she's a member.  But Leah knows about the dangers and predators who target girls her age. "I only talk to friends that are on my friend list and who I know," said Leah.

"It has to start at home first," said Kristen. She has taught her daughter those dangers but also keeps track of all her online activity. "First of all, she has to ask to use her computer. It is in her room, my computer is in my office, my husband has one in his office. Anytime we get on the computer, he can see when we log on," explained Kristen.

As for Abbott's statement, she believes extra help outside her house will help. But she is a firm believer that the real safety measures start with the parental control. "Yes it does help to have everyone collaborate. But in a sense, you have to be responsible for your own kid," she said.

Abbott says he would like to see MySpace adopt age verification measures and filtering software so parents can control access to certain places.  He would also like MySpace to keep better records of online activity to help law enforcement for future investigations.

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