MySpace for Moms and Dads: A Guide to Understanding the Risks and the Rewards [NOOK Book]

Overview

Moms and dads—here it is at last! A quick, sweeping overview of MySpace: what it is, how it works, and why it is so important to your teen. You’ll find out how to address important issues with your teen in a way that strengthens your relationship and resolves conflicts.

Whether you’re computer illiterate or a seasoned web surfer, MySpace for Moms and Dads will help you ...
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MySpace for Moms and Dads: A Guide to Understanding the Risks and the Rewards

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Overview

Moms and dads—here it is at last! A quick, sweeping overview of MySpace: what it is, how it works, and why it is so important to your teen. You’ll find out how to address important issues with your teen in a way that strengthens your relationship and resolves conflicts.

Whether you’re computer illiterate or a seasoned web surfer, MySpace for Moms and Dads will help you understand the social networking revolution and equip you to make smart, confident decisions about your son’s or daughter’s use of MySpace and sites like it.

Learn how to minimize the risks of MySpace and bring out its benefits and positive opportunities. You can not only ensure that your teen uses MySpace safely, but also use MySpace yourself to gain a window into your teen’s world. Find out how to tailor your teen’s use of MySpace to his or her present maturity level—and deepen your appreciation of the unique individual your son or daughter is in the bargain.

Includes complete glossary, discussion starters, fun quizzes, negotiation helps for you and your teen, and resources with complete contact information including non-web and web addresses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310540472
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Connie Neal is sought by secular and Christian media as an expert on the intersection of parenting and pop culture. A parent of two teenagers, she also has a decade of experience as a church youth worker and BA in communication from Pepperdine University. Connie has authored dozens of books including: What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? featured in Newsweek and The Gospel According to Harry Potter featured in Time, Christianity Today, and Entertainment Weekly. She has also created videos and curriculum for parents and teens. She toured as a guest speaker with Women of Faith.
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Read an Excerpt

MySpace for Moms and Dads

A Guide to Understanding the Risks and the Rewards
By Connie Neal

Zondervan

Copyright © 2007 Connie Neal
All right reserved.




Chapter One

What Is MySpace?

I recently spoke to a woman who works for a parenting organization where I have previously spoken. I hoped to speak about MySpace for moms and dads at their upcoming national convention. She's a leader in her field and also has a teenage son, so I assumed she knew what I was talking about. As I carried on about "MySpace this" and "MySpace that," it slowly dawned on me that she hadn't a clue as to what I was talking about. She had never heard of MySpace.

So instead of trying to explain MySpace and convince her of how pervasive it is, I asked her to put down the phone and ask her thirteen-year-old son who, among his friends, had a MySpace page. I heard her ask him, and I heard him rattle off a list of names.

If you're among those thinking or asking, "MySpace? What's that?" don't feel bad. You're not alone. I commend you for venturing to find out!

MySpace: It's Like a Whole New Language

There must be a teen in your life who's interested in MySpace. Otherwise you probably wouldn't be reading this book. If you're anything like me and many parents or grandparents I've talked to, exploring this whole "MySpace thing" feels something like learning a new language.

My two teenage children, Taylor and Haley, helped me set up a MySpace page when I wanted to learn about it several months ago. That seemedeasy enough when they did it. So I wanted to make a new MySpace page specifically for readers of this book. The only problem was that I wanted to do this while they were at school, and I'm an impatient person. So I decided to give it a try.

I did okay. I managed to make my own MySpace page. I thought it looked pretty good. There was a small problem. For some reason unknown to me, it came out in German. I don't speak German.

So maybe learning MySpace is a bit like learning a whole new language. I didn't give up though! When Taylor and Haley got home from school, they showed me how to make a new page in English. It wasn't difficult. Once they stopped laughing, it was pretty easy to translate it to a language I could understand.

My children knew enough to help me take something that was foreign to me and make it understandable. The same principle can apply to what we're doing in this book. You will probably feel awkward; you'll make some mistakes; but you can do this with a little help (and maybe a little ribbing).

Fine-we don't know the technologies as well as our teens do. We may not even be comfortable using a computer. But we know enough. We know that we care about our teen. We know that these new ways of communicating are creating new dangers and they don't yet have the wisdom and life experience to navigate safely without some guidance. We know that most teens are using MySpace or some other social networking site. We also realize that we'd better figure out what this means for our teen's sake. That's why we're willing to deal with feeling like we're trying to learn a whole new language. Kudos to us! Good for our teens!

It's Not Really a Whole New Language

This exploration of MySpace is not really a whole new language. There are some new terms we need to become familiar with-which is why I've put a glossary at the back of the book. If you combine your knowledge of your teen, an adventurous spirit, a dose of patience, and whatever motivation you already have, that's enough to make a good start and learn the essentials about MySpace. We don't have to learn a whole new language. We only need someone to help us translate it.

For the purpose of making the "translation" easier and more fun, I recommend calling on a teen partner (preferably your own teen). Or you may want to do this with a group of supportive fellow learners with at least one knowledgeable guide. Perhaps your school PTA or local church will have enough interest to help you work though the rest of this book with other parents.

If you think your teen would never help you learn about MySpace, you may be right, but you may also be surprised. Teens hunger for parental attention and affirmation. Learning about MySpace presents an opportunity for both: there is the affirmation that you need her help because of her superior knowledge and experience in this area, and the attention that comes with that will be welcomed if it's not negative attention. Down the road you may be able to find some things on her MySpace profile that you can approve and applaud. It is worth looking into! If your teen is uncooperative, borrow help from a friend's teen or a group leader if you're in a group.

What Is Social Networking?

So what is MySpace? Simply put, MySpace and websites like it promote what's called social networking. Social networking may be a new phrase for you, since it is a relatively new term. Simply put, social networking is a way of using the computer and the internet so people can connect socially through computers. They can communicate back and forth with others who also have access to the internet. Technologies have advanced to the point where it is pretty easy for people to use a computer, not only to get information from the internet, but also to contribute content to the internet. Social networking sites have harnessed this power and made an easy way to connect with other people. People can send email, pass notes back and forth, and share music, ideas, photos, voice, videos, animations, and almost anything imaginable.

How to Describe MySpace

Have you heard the parable of the elephant and the blind men? It's told in many versions, but this one will serve our purposes.

The Parable of the Elephant and the Blind Men

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."

They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, "Even though we will not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went to where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.

"Oh, no! It is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.

"Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man, who touched the trunk of the elephant.

"It is like a big hand fan," said the fourth man, who touched the ear of the elephant.

"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man, who touched the belly of the elephant.

"It is like a solid pipe," said the sixth man, who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant, and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?"

They said, "We cannot agree on what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like.

The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you has touched a different part of the elephant. So actually the elephant has all those features you all said."

"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

Which Perspective Is Right?

Discussions about MySpace can become heated for the same reason battles broke out among the blind men arguing over the elephant. One person will declare it's nothing more than a pedophile's playground (and imply that any parent allowing their kids on MySpace is either ignorant or negligent, or simply doesn't care about their teen's safety).

Another person will say, "It's full of pornography and sexually suggestive photos. The majority of the photos on MySpace are very provocative."

Still another will state emphatically, "No! MySpace is an aspiring musician's best way to market his music."

A fourth person will say, "What are you talking about? It's a great way for a church group to discuss the Bible study for that week, ask questions, and compare notes."

Another will say, "Don't you know? It's the source of cyber-bullying, a new way to torment the rejects from school with rumors and ridicule."

Again, from someone else, "Oh, it's just a new way for politicians and advertisers to bombard us with messages we don't care to hear."

Still another will say, "It's a wonderful way to stay connected to your teens and hear what's going on in their hearts and minds, while training them in life skills."

You get the drift, and you could keep the conversation going with what you've heard about MySpace from the other parents you've talked to about it. And you have it on good authority, because each one is speaking from experience. When it comes to MySpace, we are pretty much in the dark about this new technological "animal." Whatever experience or knowledge we have with social networking is limited to some form of personal exploration, hearsay, limited personal experience, or alarming media reports. None of these grasps the whole.

How MySpace Is Like Xerox and Kleenex

Years back, if I was going to copy something on a copy machine, I said I was going to "Xerox" it. If I needed a tissue, I might ask someone to hand me a "Kleenex" regardless of what that brand of tissue might have been. These brand names became interchangeable with the generic description of the entire category because they were the first, or best, or most popular. That's sort of how it is with MySpace; if you have heard of social networking at all, you've probably heard of MySpace. It became by far the most popular social networking site and therefore garnered media attention.

There are currently hundreds of other social networking sites that have basically the same functions and serve similar purposes, with minor variations. It's anticipated that soon there will be thousands. Some of the most popular now includes Xanga, Facebook, and Friendster. There are also a growing number of Christian MySpace alternatives, which I will discuss in the chapter "MySpace and Families of Faith."

Since MySpace is the front-runner and the others tend to have similar functions and formats, I have chosen to use MySpace as the basic template for exploring social networking. Even if your teen prefers a different social networking site, what you learn here about MySpace will apply to decisions about other sites as well. From this point on, I'm going to stop saying "MySpace and other social networking sites"; just know that what you learn here will generally apply across the board. Once you learn to navigate the basics of MySpace, you will be able to do the same on other social networking sites.

Ask Your Teen

If you are coming to MySpace out of concern for your teen's well-being, much of what you need to know about MySpace falls under the category of what MySpace is to your teen. So at a basic level you can go a long way toward learning much of what you need to know about MySpace by asking your teen and listening intently. Throughout this book, therefore, I will be prompting you to talk with your teen with sections called "Ask Your Teen." Asking your teen won't work in all situations, but it's worth a try. Ask. Ask in a casual, nonthreatening way. Listen carefully; ask follow-up questions as they occur to you.

So let's try it. For your first question, ask something like, "Hey, would tell me what you know about MySpace? I'm curious. What is MySpace?" Don't grab your paper and pen just yet, but when the conversation is over, pick up your book and jot down a summary of what your teen tells you here:

_______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

Don't stop here. As occasions arise, ask people you know if they know what MySpace is. You will most likely prove to yourself that MySpace is whatever it is to each person, depending on what they have heard, how they use it, or what their experience has been. Do not argue with anyone; you're doing research. You are collecting an assortment of all the different parts and possibilities that make up this strange new "animal" that you are examining for the good of your teen.

Put notes on what people tell you MySpace is to them here: _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

Keep collecting various perspectives as you proceed with this adventure into the realm of social networking and MySpace.

Next we'll look at the origins of MySpace and how its advent has dramatically changed our world.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MySpace for Moms and Dads by Connie Neal Copyright © 2007 by Connie Neal. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Grr

    Didnt read it just wanted to type

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    YEAH.....

    LIKE UR SPACE DAD!!!!! --Sarcasm Rules

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    MySpace for Moms and Dads

    If you¿re a parent, you can¿t ignore MySpace¿but you don¿t have to be intimidated by it. This simple, step-by-step exploration of what MySpace means in YOUR teen¿s life helps even computer-challenged parents understand this communication revolution and make informed, confident decisions about their teenager¿s use of MySpace. Moms and dads¿here it is at last! A quick, sweeping overview of MySpace: what it is, how it works, and why it is so important to your teen. You¿ll find out how to work through important issues with your teen in a way that strengthens your relationship and helps resolve conflicts over social networking. Whether you¿re computer-illiterate or a seasoned Web-surfer, MySpace for Moms and Dads will help you understand the social networking revolution and equip you to make smart, confident decisions about your son¿s or daughter¿s use of MySpace and sites like it. Learn how to minimize the risks of MySpace and bring out its benefits and positive possibilities. You can help ensure that your teen uses MySpace safely, but you can also use MySpace yourself to gain a virtual window into your son¿s or daughter¿s real world. Find out how to tailor your teen¿s use of MySpace to his or her present maturity level¿and deepen your appreciation of the unique individual your teen is in the bargain. Includes &#9679 complete glossary &#9679 discussion starters &#9679 fun quizzes &#9679 negotiation helps for you and your teen &#9679 resources with complete contact information including non-web and web addresses.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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