Myspace to release the Zephyr: Software allowing parents to monitor their child’s myspace

The Wall Street Journal reported six hours a go that Myspace plans to offer parent software called Zephyr to monitor access to the information of their child as well as if the child changes their birthday or anything else:

The software will not monitor the MySpace user's movements or email, but it will “tag” the profile and report back to the parent if the user name, age or hometown have been changed. The software will collect this information about anyone who logs onto MySpace from the home computer, so it could collect information about a child's friends as well as the child.

One big issue at the meeting was whether MySpace's software would violate the privacy of users. Other social-networking sites have more restrictive privacy rules than MySpace — not allowing anyone to see a user's age or location, for example.

Another concern was that the software could be used by people other than parents to monitor the MySpace usage on their computers.

There are a whole wealth of issues swirling around this one including the mass exodus that MAY occur with some teens. The whole thing behind all of this is verification — there is no way currently to truly verify a child's identity, age, or who their parents truly are. If we're relying on the honesty of people we will find that there are many honest people out there. However, kids make mistakes and the truly dishonest that we are supposed to be protecting these kids from are liars by nature.

I echo the last sentence of the article:

Larry Magid, author of MySpace Unraveled and a Web site, says MySpace's software seems like an important step. But, he cautions “there is no tool that will solve the problem of parents not taking an interest in what their kids are doing on the Internet.”

The advice I give parents: Talk to your kids about it, have them show your their site and subscribe over RSS. (See my 11 steps to online parental supervision of your child.)

This is definitely one that my students will be blogging about! When you give them things where they have strong opinions, they can do some great writing!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Anonymous January 18, 2007 - 11:07 pm

The whole topic is scary — letting kids loose in the Wild, Wild, Internet — so anything to try to keep them safer sounds like a good idea. You’re right, though. There is no replacement for caring, attention, and common sense.

Andrew (To Love, Honor, and Dismay)

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