The ideal way to monitor your child's site is to visit it often and look around. If your child has a private profile, have him or her add you as a friend so you can check in every now and then. Ask for the URL (Web address) of your teen's page. If your child doesn't give you that information, you may still be able to find it.
Searching for Your Child's Profile
If your child has a public profile, youor anyonecan find his or her MySpace site, provided you know what to look for.
To access the MySpace search feature, follow these steps:
In some cases, you may need to be a MySpace member to access information. If so, go ahead and sign up for a free account; you don't have to put any info in it.
If the information you're searching for appears in your child's profile, you'll see a page where you can view the profile, if it's public, by clicking View Profile. If the profile is private, you will see some information but not the full profile (Figure 6.10).
Figure 6.10. If your child's profile displays and is public, you can click on the blue "View Profile" link on the right to see what the rest of the world can see.
It is quite possible for your child to sign up under a different name, of course, or from an email address you may not be aware of (Figure 6.11). Some teens might decide to tell only certain friends their fictitious name or URL and "stealth" email address or IM screen name, and it'd be tough for anyone else to find the profile. Anyone can get free email addresses and IM accounts from services like Hotmail, AIM, and Yahoo!.
Figure 6.11. This fictitious 14-year-old, "Susie," has a private profile, but anyone can see her first name, gender, age, sexual orientation, location, and the fact she's "here for" dating. If she had posted a photo, it too would be displayed.
You can also try searching MySpace, Google, and other search engines for other information, such as your child's cell phone number, street address, screen name, friends' names, school name, sports team names, or anything else that might show up on the Web or in a profile.
Browsing by School
Another way a parent might search for a son or daughter is to use the Classmate Finder option in MySpace's search area (Figure 6.12).
Figure 6.12. Type your child's school name and other info into Classmate Finder.
To use this option:
Because some kids lie about their ages, it's best to choose an age rangefor example, from 16 to 100 (a lot of teens are pretty random about their "ages"many just say "100").