Friday, July 21, 2006

myspace safety 411

Social Networking sites have taken society by storm. They have afforded us opportunities to reconnect with old friends, loves and in some cases, missed chances at love but these mediums are also alive and well with internet predators. Not to burst any bubbles all these sites such as Facebook, myspace and Friendster are all safe when used well, safely.

Ok, starting with the basics. Never give out your complete name, address, phone number or credit card numbers to anyone. This all seems obvious but you might be surprised how many predators can coax this information out of someone. I would never share that information with a stranger but someone I regarded as a friend, well that may be a different story. Truth be told, we are all very comfortable behind the computer as it seems to establish a wall of protection but if not administered properly it can make you an easy target.

So before we get in too deep, I want you to log in to your myspace account, Friendster or otherwise and set this puppy to safe mode. Or if you want to be searchable then simply clean up your profile. Now I am 100% a fan of these social mediums. I have found dear friends from college and high school as well as been able to see how that hot guy from back in the day turned out (still fabulous). But, I have learned to proceed with caution and you my friend, can too. For example, let’s say you decide to blog about a pretty rough day at work. Clients making you crazy, your boss even (I know that would never be the case with you all but suspend disbelief for but a moment) and your loving and sympathetic friends, comment on your blog about how your law firm should get a grip. How just because William’s name is on the marquee does not make him king and you are so talented as a young family law attorney if they don’t watch it- you will walk.
Now to a non-stalker type you and your posse are holding your cards pretty close to the chest, keeping it nice and vague. However if a stalker really wanted to find you at this point they have more than enough information.

Ok, killers, stalkers and perverts aside, let’s talk about who else may be reading all about your girls gone wild Friday night or how a night with the boys got a little out of hand. Your boss, your future dream boss, your professor or even you own family. None of whom need to know about that table-dancing scene that seemed so right at the time. So be smart and aware and take precautions to protect yourself and your future.

However if you fall prey to a predator, (which is frighteningly easy to do) perhaps you simply accepted a stranger, as your friend who will not leave you alone then you need to take this threat seriously. Follow these steps to stop the harassment. Keep everything! I know your inclination when a creeper will not back off is to rid yourself of everything that reminds you of them but for your safety- DON’T! Do not delete messages, chat logs, comments or otherwise. Store them on a disk and print out hard copies. Then call the police and ask for the Computer Crimes unit or for an officer who addresses online incidents. Most experts say if you have received a direct death threat or threats of physical harm call the FBI Computer Crimes unit. When calling in a crime make sure you stay calm, know your facts (who, when, where ETC) and let them know you have your documents for review. If you feel you need additional resources then visit,, or feel free to contact me directly at as I would be happy to walk you through this process. The internet is an incredible source of knowledge and information but it is also a bit of a danger zone when explored recklessly. So proceed with caution but by all means proceed.

Becca and Kelly are I-SAFE certified, to learn more visit

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