MySpace Helps Parents Protect Kids

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Knoxville (WVLT) - MySpace has taken several hits over the last few months, and not just from teens wanting their piece of the internet. But now, it's attempting to clean up it's image.

"I think it's very important for parents to be able to monitor what their kids are doing on the internet," says Rebekah Fetzer, Minister of Disciplinship with the Cokesbury United Methodist Church.

Right now, there's no way to monitor the information the sites users post. In other words, MySpace trusts users to give their real age. But, that's not always the case.

'Zephyr' will allow parents to see if their kids are being honest about how old they are. But, Stephen Bradley with PC of Mind says "It's not gonna keep someone who's older that might be looking to mask themselves as a younger identity on MySpace."

And that's what worries parents like Fetzer.

"Kids think about this far ahead, they don't know what's out there in the wider world of the internet."

Fetzer also says the new software will do more than just monitor what their kids are doing.

"Make the kids understand that they're being monitored and that would make a difference in how they act and what they do on the internet and MySpace."

While this new tool is a move in the right direction, it will not let parents see their kids' password-protected profiles.

"Just make sure your computer is protected at your home network and make sure you have anti-virus/anti-spyware and that you just keep an eye on your computer," says Bradley.

But it does help you keep an eye on your children. And for Fetzer, this is just the beginning. She says much more can be done.

"It's not going to solve all the problems because they can go anywhere they want on the internet."

'Zephyr' will be available this summer. It will also allow parents to know if their children are accessing their page from a home computer.

Experts say the most important thing is to talk to your kids about internet dangers. They recommend putting your computer in a central location of your home and using monitoring software.