Quick Answer: Our rating of MySpace pages vary widely. Our software’s rating system examines each and every Web page from MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Each page is rated by keywords. This means some pages will be flagged with a higher rating than others.
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What is MySpace? What is Facebook?
MySpace and Facebook are social networking sites. Users of these sites can create personal profiles, befriend others on the same network, share information about themselves, and communicate with others in the network.
Initially MySpace was the online home for 20-somethings interested in indie music who lived in LA. Today, nearly 6 years later, you can hardly find a teen in the US who has not heard about MySpace. Facebook started as a network of Harvard students. Today, Facebook will pull 50 billion page views in a given month.
And there are many other social networking sites today: Bebo, BlackPlanet, CafeMom, Classmates.com, DeviantART, Flixster, Friendster, Habbo, hi5, LinkIn, Live Journal, MiGente, Orkut, Reunion.com, Twitter, Windows Live Spaces, and Xanga, just to name a few of the more popular ones.
People may start using a social networking site for a variety of reasons. They may want to try reconnecting with alumni from their high school or college. They may be curious because they have a number of good friends that already use social networking. They may simply want their own little “piece of the Internet,” a place to express their ideas creatively: write articles, publish their artwork, or speak about the things that interest them.
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Some think our ratings are too high . . .
Inevitably we receive comments, emails, and phone calls about how our rating system has rated a particular MySpace or Facebook page too high. Most of the time these comments come from people who genuinely believe there is nothing “pornographic” on the page in question. Many times they are right: there is no blatant pornography on the page.
It is important to understand that our rating system is keyword-based. We search a page for any and all possibly objectionable terms, and our rating is applied accordingly.
Social networking sites are a minefield of words. For instance, my Facebook profile page doesn’t merely display stuff I write: it also has messages from my friends and acquaintances. If any one of them writes something using key objectionable terms, this will very likely drive the rating up on my profile page.
Some dislike this feature of Covenant Eyes software. They would prefer that we lower the ratings on these social networking sites. Incidentally, we receive rating-change requests all the time for these pages.
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A Relational Solution
Our rating system is age-based. If you are a parent, ask yourself what you wouldn’t want your eight year-old to be reading about online. This is how we’ve structured our rating system.
Covenant Eyes accountability software offers more than a technological solution to the problem of objectionable online content: it offers a relational solution. On our end, we provide the best software and reports we can to help an accountability partner see how someone is using the Internet. On the accountability partners’ end, it is up to them how they want to use that report. This is where the relational component comes in.
How highly rated pages are handled is something between Covenant Eyes members and their accountability partner(s). For instance, some people may care very little that someone visited a MySpace page that has a few profane comments written on it. All they care about is whether the person looked at pornographic pictures or videos. Some accountability partners may care a lot about each and every foul word that a page displays. For each accountability partnership, it is different.
Sometimes the best answer to a highly rated Web page is not defensiveness or trying to get the rating lowered. Sometimes the best answer is simply a conversation with one’s accountability partner. It is up to the accountability partner and the user as to which sort(s) of Internet content most concerns them.
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Here’s a step-by-step process to help an accountability partner look more closely at MySpace. Let’s say you’ve spotted a MySpace page that has a higher rating. What do you do?
- Go to the accountability report and check out the detailed browsing log for MySpace.com. To do this go to the “Highest Ratings” section of the report and click on “myspace.com.”
- The detailed browsing log for MySpace will load. This may take a few seconds, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
- You may have several pages of URLs to look through. You can easily find the high ratings by going to the bottom of each page and clicking “Next High Rating,” and you will be directed to the next highlighted high-rated URL.
- Each URL can be examined individually. Click on a highly rated URL and a box will open with the full text of the URL in it. You can then copy and paste this into an Internet browser. Be warned: doing this may expose you to objectionable content.
- Examine the page that is opened.