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Your Digital Kids

A MySpace Course for Parents

In the Amazing That No One Has Thought of This Before department, I discovered an interesting online course called MySpaceMyKids. For $50, parents can register at the site and watch a series of video tutorials on how MySpace works, and how to optimize it so that their kids are safe.clipboard01.jpg

The lessons are hosted by Jason Illian, a motivational speaker and cultural expert, who has a nice rapport. He’s youthful enough for you to believe that he understands the kids, but old enough to speak politely to you as their parent. His delivery is straightforward and sincere. This is information, not entertainment. Throughout the lessons, Jason appears on the left side of the screen alongside either animated screenshots of MySpace or highlighted bullet points.

After explaining what MySpace is and how it works, he offers advice on how to use tools (both online and offline) to make sure your kids are safe. He demonstrates how to change privacy and profile options to make your kids safer online, and dispenses some no-nonsense advice like why they shouldn’t give out their school name or lie about their age.

Jason’s MO is for parents to locate their child’s profile on MySpace and then sit down with them and develop a safe strategy concerning privacy options and what kind of information their profile contains. It’s not uncommon, he believes, to discover what he calls a “misalignment” between their life in the real world and MySpace. And so, if a parent discovers their child’s profile is profanity laden or has suggestive photos, he suggests using MySpace as the basis for a conversation.

A few things to point out. There are no previews of the tutorials before you spend your $50. The screenshots that you follow along with as Jason speaks are pretty small and were difficult for me to read on my laptop. It would have been nice if parents got to interact with the program a bit, too. As it is, you watch and listen, but you don’t have any interaction or get to try things out for yourself. Hopefully the next revision would build some interaction in.

But mostly you need to understand that this course is not showing you how to go into your child’s profile and fix it while they’re not looking. It’s about learning enough to sit down with your child and have a conversation where you’ve got the knowledge to tell them what you want changed about their online personae.

Thumbs up to MySpaceMyKids for recognizing that parents need to become educated about MySpace. If you haven’t a clue and you’re too afraid too learn on your own then you’re in good hands with these lessons.