Thursday, 10 April 2008

Media Alert: Social Networking Site Creator Takes New Steps To Protect Kids


The creator of a new invite-only social networking site for girls has spoken out today, following a report published by Ofcom revealing that more than a quarter of eight – 11 year-olds in the UK have a profile on a social network.

Carol-Ann Purkis, who founded Mymissyme.com earlier this year, hopes to set an example to other website developers with her site, designed to provide an exclusive online environment for teens to safely chat and share personal details.

She explains:
“Social networking is clearly here to stay, so instead of depending on minimum age limits that are almost impossible to enforce, we have a responsibility to protect children from potential dangers. “This doesn’t have to mean overly intrusive monitoring, or spoiling kids’ fun, but by following a few basic precautions, the risks to privacy and safety can be minimised by site developers.”

- Personal Details. Social networking sites will always invite visitors to talk about themselves, as a way of meeting like-minded people. But it is important to remember that the more you give away, the more your trust could be abused. Mymissyme.com limits information displayed. It asks new members to create a username and no real names, ages or addresses are ever shown on profiles.

- Inappropriate Contact. Friendship requests from strangers are a key part of social networking, but profiles can be deceptive, with the danger of adult sexual predators ever present. To combat this, Mymissyme.com offers registration to girls by invite only. Each new member is given five passes for friends. The site is regularly monitored, and any breach of the rules would lead to a ban from the site.

- Photo/video Censorship. Putting pictures onto a profile is a fun part of online interaction, and a great way of meeting new people, but they can also give a lot away, and most social networking sites provide easy access. Mymissyme.com offers girls the freedom of uploading images and videos without the risk of them being viewed by inappropriate members.

- Complaints. Mymissyme.com has a strict set of rules and regulations, and won’t tolerate harassment or bullying, indecent or obscene materials and strongly encouraging respect. Members are urged to report any bad behaviour immediately. It will always be taken very seriously and dealt with quickly. Through these measures, the site establishes a carefully maintained balance of safety and the freedom to enjoy.


To arrange an interview with Carol-Ann, or for further info, please contact mymissymepr@mccint.com
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