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San Clemente Journal

Cyber Trends

Feb 02, 2007 10:25PM ● Published by Don Kindred

by Roby LaPorte

Like any given medium for information and entertainment, the Internet is a very trendy place. One where ideas come and go like cars on the I-5. Now that dial up connections are on their way out and high-speed broadband is at an all time high, Internet users are going wireless and mobile. With cell phone technology growing like a weed, cell phones are looking more and more like PDA’s and visa-versa. Many people are browsing the Internet right on their cell phones, along with playing their MP3 music collections, watching videos, emailing and instant messaging. You can even use it to call someone! Connecting with friends and family, even the entire world from anywhere on the planet, has never been easier.

Right now, the Cyber trends are leaning towards networking and meeting up with old friends and making new ones. The fastest growing web-based networking website right now is www.MySpace.com. Especially popular with teenagers, about 50% of all teens around the world have an account with MySpace. Especially older teens and girls aged 15 to 17, as they love to create social networking profiles. About 90% of these teens use such sites to stay in touch with friends they see a lot, and more than half are interested in making new friends. 

MySpace is absolutely enormous, the largest site of its kind, and has over sixty-one million registered users to date with more than twenty-one million unique visitors every day. On top of that, well over 200,000 new people register every day. The site offers you the opportunity to upload images, music and videos along with your personal profile for other users to view. You can set up your own network of friends, family and co-workers to stay in immediate contact, or you can invite new people to join your network. Customizing your personal page can be fun, too, creating an individual look and feel that’s all your own. For most kids, it’s like having your own personal website without dealing with domain names and hosting companies.

A word to the wise may be in order here for parents who have teenage children. As a parent, your child’s safety is of the highest priority and monitoring their activities in all areas of their lives is a must … with online activity right up there on top. Like anywhere, there are a few predators out there using sites of this type to hunt for victims, and kids just don’t realize this. MySpace does have extensive safety rules posted, and they review the site for sexually explicit photos (which are prohibited) constantly, they also work closely with law enforcement to investigate and prevent potential criminal activity. However, there are things going on in there you need to be aware of. I would suggest to all parents, who know their child is on MySpace, to set up your own account and then join their network. This way you can monitor what they are saying and doing and what their fellow networkers are saying and doing. Many parents report some very surprising findings when their child doesn’t realize they are being watched. It is all too easy to lie when they sign up, about age and such, and then make stuff up in their profile. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Another similar site recently created for the vast populace is YouTube.com. Primarily a video-based website, it has to date well over nine million videos uploaded. Many musical acts and bands use YouTude.com as a promotional tool to get their music to the public. A visit to YouTube.com can be fun, offering a wide variety of videos, some good and quite a few not so good, and you could easily spend the next six months in there and not see them all. 

Yes, the Internet does have its own set of trends, but the more it changes, the more it stays the same; endless amounts of information and entertainment at your fingertips. b 
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