Are social networking sites really any more dangerous than the real world? Are your kids in more danger on MySpace then they are at the publicor walking home from school? Let me use some comparisons.
Online: Your child is on MySpace and comes across some pornographic photos.
Offline: Your child is at a friends house and finds a Playboy under the couch.
Online: Your child comes across some graphic photos online.
Offline: Your child watched the news and sees people being killed in Iraq.
Online: Your child is sent an email or IM on his MySpace account by someone who wants to meet him later today.
Offline: Your child runs into a sex offender on the way home from school.
I could go on, but I think I've made my point. I know the Internet exposes children to many more people then they could ever run into at the park or on the way home from school. I also know that the sex offender that lives in the neighborhood knows the neighbors and may even know who my kids are.
I'm not sure that social networking sites are more dangerous than the city park or letting your teen go out the local hang out with his friends. Everytime my son goes out into the world I worry that he could get hurt or in trouble. I worry about the Internet too but it's different. I've prepared him for both.