MySpace.com said Wednesday that it is planning to offer free parental notification software in a move to allow parents to find out what name, age and location their children are using to represent themselves on the popular Web site, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In a move to appease government critics who say the site should provide more safety measures, the News Corp.-owned site will hold parents accountable for monitoring their children and will not allow parents to read their child's e-mail or see the profile page and will notify children when their information is being shared. The program will send updates when changes in the child's name, age and location are made from any computer.
The software, named "Zephyr," represents the latest attempt by the Santa Monica-based site to quiet critics who claim that the site is unsafe for teens and is an example of the delicate line MySpace walks between protecting users' privacy while also protecting its younger users from potential harm. The Journal reports that dozens of users have been abused or harmed following initial contact with predators via MySpace.com.
A group of 33 state attorneys led by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are currently considering taking legal action against MySpace if the site doesn't raise the age limit to join the site from 14 to 16 and begin verifying users' ages, the Wall Street Journal said. MySpace defends its 14-year-old age limit by saying that it is better for many of its younger users to join with the special privacy controls designed for 14- and 15-year-old members than to lie about their age in order to join.
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