Seventeen, schools to help MySpace educate parents

Social-networking site links up with a popular teen magazine and academic associations to spread Net safety gospel. Video: MySpace advice for youth and parents, too

Tech Industry
Top global social-networking site plans on Monday to unveil a campaign to educate parents, schools and teenagers about Internet safety as it moves to protect many of its young users.

MySpace will announce a partnership with Seventeen magazine, the National School Boards Association and the National Association of Independent Schools to offer parents tips on how to protect minors online.

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Video: MySpace advice for youth and parents, too
Author also addresses parent snooping and why MySpace gets so much heat.

"While technology plays a critical role in tackling the challenges of Internet safety, any measures must be part of a comprehensive solution, and education is an essential component," Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer of MySpace and a former Microsoft attorney, said in an interview.

The site, an online hangout for young adults and teens owned by media conglomerate News Corp., lets users post information about themselves and share their passion for music. It has been a runaway hit online and has doubled in users since the beginning of the year.

Its success--with more than 100 million profiles created by users, including chief executives and Fortune 500 companies such as MySpace advertiser General Motors--has also made it a destination for child predators from coast to coast in the United States.

In September, a 40-year-old Utah man was charged with attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl on MySpace to have sex with him in New York.

The girl's father, who installed software that monitored his daughter's online activity, intervened before the rendezvous occurred, according to reports in local Chicago newspapers.

"MySpace introduced a new technology and created a new world," Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen's editor in chief, said in an interview. "But it's not their sole responsibility to patrol them."

"My mom was the person who told me not to walk down the dark alley by myself, not the person who created the dark alley."

To download the guide for parents, surfers can click on "Safety Tips" on MySpace's home page. Brochures will also be distributed to about 55,000 schools representing grades 7 through 12 in the United States in October.

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