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MySpace for Parents

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If you are a parent of teenagers in this digital age, you must understand how sites like MySpace are influencing your kids choices. This sample chapter provides an overview of how to setup, configure, and cancel a MySpace account.
This chapter is from the book

NOW IT'S TIME TO actually try out MySpace. We don't expect most parents to become diehard MySpace fanatics (though some might), but we do hope that you'll at least sign up (it's free), create a profile, and check out a few of the features so you can see what's going on.

This chapter takes a hands-on, "cookbook" approach to using MySpace. We hope it will help you understand what the different features do and why people use them, while injecting some cautionary notes. Some of the things we'll show you include basics like how to set up a MySpace account, how to build and edit a profile, how to integrate music and video into your profile, and how to use MySpace's privacy features.

The idea, here, is for parents to get enough of a feel for the service to better understand how their kids are using it and advise them on safe, smart socializing. Although we do walk you through everything you need to know to use the service (and even make it sing and dance a little), we'll be the first to admit that this book probably won't turn the average parent into a highly sophisticated MySpace user. That's not our goal.

Our goal is to help you get your feet wet, splash around the pool, have a little fun, and maybe swim a lap or two. After all, if your kids are going to be swimming in the deep end, you should know the layout of the pool.

In Chapter 4, we cover some of the ways MySpace helps manage a user's social life. Then, in Chapter 7, we take you on a tour of some of MySpace's more advanced features. Don't worry—there won't be a quiz, and we don't expect you to master every feature we talk about!

Setting Up an Account

Setting up a basic MySpace account is fast and easy. Follow these steps:

  1. On the www.myspace.com home page, click SignUp in the top-right corner (Figure 3.1).

    Figure 3.1

    Figure 3.1 To sign up, click the orange button on the right side or click SignUp in the top-right corner.

    This takes you directly to the signup page (Figure 3.2).

    Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 The signup page.

  2. Provide your email address, first and last name, date of birth, gender, country, and zip code.

    Your email address and last name won't appear in your public profile automatically, but your first name, age, and location will unless you delete them later. (We'll show you how.)

  3. Create a unique password with six or more characters, containing at least one number or punctuation character.
  4. Agree to comply with basic site-security protocols and the terms of the site by checking the appropriate check box.
  5. Enter the characters displayed in the Verification box.

    You may have trouble deciphering the verification text, but if you get it wrong, MySpace will display a different one for you to try again.

  6. Click the Sign Up button.

Uploading a Photo

The next step is uploading a photo to your MySpace profile. Or you can choose to skip this step until later by selecting the Skip for Now link at the bottom of the page (Figure 3.3). See "Turning MySpace into YourSpace" later in this chapter if you want to upload your photo later.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 Here, you can upload a photo or click Skip for Now to do it later.

If you have a good digital picture readily available on your computer, you can upload it this way:

  1. Click Browse to navigate to the folder on your computer's hard drive where you store pictures.
  2. Double-click the photo you want to use.
  3. Click Upload.

    It may take a minute or so for the photo to be uploaded from your hard drive to MySpace.

    Note: See "Turning MySpace into YourSpace" later in this chapter for more about photos, including some safety warnings and instructions on changing your photo or adding a caption.

Inviting Friends

Before you can view your new basic profile, you'll be asked to share your new page and invite your friends to MySpace (Figure 3.4). You can choose to notify your contacts by following the address-input instructions or skip this step until later.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 You can invite friends during setup or click Skip for Now to do it later.

The Hello Page

Congratulations—your new MySpace account is active! The Hello page essentially is your MySpace home page and central site-navigation tool. Your home page is unique, and it's different from MySpace's main home page at www.myspace.com.

You can access your home page by clicking Home in the menu near the top of any screen in MySpace. To get to the site's main home page, click the MySpace.com link in the top corner of any screen (Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 Your very own MySpace home page.

Every time you log in with your user name and password, you'll be autodirected to your home page. Your home page is your jumping-off point for editing or enhancing your profile. Only you have access to this page. Though it looks a lot like what the public sees, it's actually a little different. The URL of the page the public will see is displayed in the box that says "Tell people about your MySpace" (Figure 3.6).

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 Here's where you can choose a URL that isn't a bunch of mind-numbing numbers.

Your MySpace home page has several features and tools, some of which we will highlight in this section and expand on in greater detail later in this chapter.

Up to this point, you've provided only basic profile information, so your home page looks pretty sparse. The steps in the following sections let you flesh out your profile by providing details.

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