Teens and pre-teens want so desperately to be seen and heard and noticed by someone who cares that they are there. Enter the image, music, video, and interactivity - driven world of MySpace, Facebook, and other "social networking sites."
Our young people now have access to a stage and microphone of worldwide proportion, offering them a tremendous feeling of significance. One of the ways to help prevent them from getting into trouble on MySpace is to actively offer them a healthy sense of significance at home.
OK, parents, listen up - this is important. If you are going to insist on having access to the space which they consider so sacred and private (from the adult world, anyway), you MUST be respectful of them and their space. You are the parent with the authority - too many parents are too willing to give up this right. However, if you are constantly "hanging out" in their space, or frequently criticizing them about minor issues on their page, you will alienate yourself from them and lose your ability to influence them.
If you can take a position of respectful curiosity regarding their online world, you will be amazed how much they may begin to share with you (over time), and how powerfully you can influence their lives for good.