Because of the response to COVID, a variety of local and state governments have required many of the nation’s children to attend class online. To try to maintain some sort of social contact many of those same kids are increasingly using electronic devices of various sorts. At the same time parents are being required to work from home or otherwise be distracted from providing needed supervision while their children are online. The need to make sure minors are safer in these virtual environments is perhaps more important now than ever. And, there is something you can do to help.
The desire to keep children safe online is not new and fortunately much great work has been done to provide options for today. In 2006, MySpace was the largest social networking site in the world, easily besting competitors as it continued to grow. That year, then Connecticut Attorney General (now Senator) Richard Blumenthal launched an investigation of the site because of accusations that sexual predators were using it to connect with children. Additionally, the site struggled to build effective filters for eliminating spam, especially pornography, which added to the media frenzy decrying it.
By 2008, MySpace reached an agreement with attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia under which it would adopt new measures to protect children online. MySpace released an announcement that read in part, “MySpace currently provides users an easy process for reporting abusive conduct by offering a ‘report abuse’ link at the bottom of every profile on MySpace, and we will explore additional models and proposals to determine how to best to empower and protect our members online.”