Getting into your child's life now means being part of their universe, what they think about, what they are reading, and who they are talking to. All of which they now can and do mostly online. With the emergence of networking sites kids are blogging, sharing music, watching video, chatting with, and even live web cam broadcasting to each other in the blink of an eye. And unless you are in the loop, most of it is done without limits.
Tracking the child's footprint, where he goes, who she comments to, and most importantly who has access to their page can all be monitored by mom and dad easily - by simply starting a MySpace account of their own.
It is also important to realize that pop culture from music videos to podcasts have recognized the power of this medium. Now pop artists who used to be completely isolated and cut off from every day interaction with their fans - are speaking to them, even personally and directly from MySpace. Do you want your daughter interacting with Akon the man who humps under age girls on stage? If not are you aware that your daughter might still have a direct connection to him?
Politicians are also accessing the networking world and attempting to sway the belief system of the next generation through it as well. Though admittedly they are much clumsier at it than the pop culture icons, they are learning quickly and I predict their desire to get to your child will only increase in its efficiency before the election of 2008.
What's important to remember about MySpace (and applicable to all other networking sites) is that it is merely a medium that gives access.
Sure it makes your life a bit harder because you have to learn how to use it and what it is capable of, but that's not all bad. There are numbers of tremendous organizations, groups, churches, and resources that are moving on to MySpace. You will also be able to join alumni groups of your alma maters. Teachers use it to communicate to students. And if you live similarly to the McCulloughs with family spread out across the Northeast, Southwest, Midwest, and Pacific sections of the nation MySpace is an invaluable tool to spread news quickly. That also applies to our service men and women keeping us safe overseas.
Here's an easy way to start, go here and join the MySpace community for readers of this column, my blog, and my radio show, see how easy it is to get connected and message me any questions you have about how it works. We will be as quick as possible to get the answers to you that you need.
Another highly recommended resource would be Jason Illian's MyKids, MySpace. Perhaps the most authoritative and easiest to read work that's been done on the subject.
Mom, Dad, you need to be on MySpace, your kids already are and while they are there not a day goes by that they wouldn't be more safe - if they were to add you to their "friends" list.