The internet has made the entire world come together. The sheer mass of communication going on in the Internet makes it entirely impossible to police it. Therefore, along with the various advantages the internet and chat have, the most dangerous disadvantage is the danger of children getting exposed to unwanted elements on the online chat rooms for kids.
Maybe the most hit by unwanted elements in pre-teen chat rooms are children. Children are at a malleable age and may fall in the wrong hands if proper precautions are not taken about their safety. Here are some tips to ensure that your kid is having a safe, secure and entertaining time on the teenage chat rooms.
The first step towards creating a safe atmosphere on the chat communities for your child is by ensuring that they are not addicted to chatting. Chatting should be just one of the social interactions they carry out, and not the only one. This way, children will not consider chatting to be anything else except a chance to make friends and know more about them.
Another important step towards your child's online safety is to make them aware of the various dangers they may face over the internet. Do not keep anything hidden from your children.
Children at a particular age are always in revolt mode and would not like unnecessary snooping around on their personal life. It is always better to have a child cooperate with your security. The best way is to tell your child what you are exactly up to and what you both are put up against.
Also, ensure that as a parent, you take time out of your daily routine and go through the various bookmarks, and chat logs of your child. Being a parent is a huge responsibility, and caring about your child's safety on the internet is just a part of this responsibility.
Though the internet is not all methodical, one can create their own method to create a safety grid for their children. For one, ensure that your kid chats only on sites pertaining to kids and their ages. That way, the chances of meeting anti-social characters is minimized. However, since the Internet is such a free service, this by no means is a fool proof method. A fifty four year old man can pose as a nineteen year old girl and nobody will be wiser until something serious happens.
Also, do not allow your kids to use hardcore chat sites like MIRC. Most of the chat rooms of MIRC are sexually oriented or otherwise not advisable to be used by children below the age of eighteen.
Possibly the best bet of keeping your child safe on the internet is by allowing them to only access moderated chat rooms. Moderated chatrooms are chatrooms which are 'moderated' by the employees of the chat service. The 'moderator' looks after the chats in the room and removes any chatter who acts in any manner not appropriate to the other chatters. This is called as 'kicking' or 'banning' in online chat parlance.
Encourage your child to keep a log of all the chats he or she does with their friends. Almost all modern chat softwares and chat rooms have a inbuilt save function which saves your child's chats in a *.txt format on your computer. If the child is chatting on a website interface, you can always select the entire chat and save it as a *.txt format on your computer.
Try not to have your child use a personal computer till a certain age. If your child uses a common computer at home, you can keep an eye on which chat sites they access and also which websites they access. Therefore, you will always have a general idea of what your child is up to.
One unbreakable rule you should make for your child is to 'not meet anyone he or she has met in the free live chat rooms'. Though this rule may not be logical for mature people, it is a very important rule for children. Meeting people from online in real life is always a tricky situation, and even mature people should keep in mind that you should always meet chat friends in public places, and generally always be on the wary for anything fishy.
Also, you should make sure that your child access only those chat rooms made for them. For example, if a chat service has a 'under-13 chat room and a '16-and above chatroom', ensure that your chat accesses the chat room which is suitable for their age.
Ways to avoid problems in chat rooms:
- Do not let your child chat in unmoderated chat rooms. Only allow him or her in rooms run by a reputable company or organization that monitors activity.
- Because many spammers use names they can easily collect from a chat room, consider giving your child a "chat" screen name. This name would be one that is different than their e-mail address. This could help prevent unwanted Spam mail from coming to your child.
- Instruct your child never to give out personal information in a chat room.
- Instruct your child never to agree to get together with anyone they meet in a chat room without first checking with you.
- Talk with your children about the way some people behave in chat rooms. Remind them that people are not always who they seem to be. Remind them to be very careful about people who offer easy solutions to difficult problems or make offers that are "too good to be true."
- Consider using a software to block sensitive personal information from being transmitted through your children's chat.