>> Child Safety
When children are in a chat area they are in a very public "place".
They do not necessarily know the true identity of anyone they are
talking to in the chat room. Those who would wish to harm children
can prey on those in chat rooms who appear to be left out or lonely.
They can pretend to be supportive and sympathetic in order to gain
the trust of the young person by being willing to "listen"
to their problems and provide friendship.
of anonymity has raised major security issues with chat rooms. There
is no way to really believe or trust a person you have never met
except through conversation online. Many parents are leery of their
children getting sucked into this alternate world, due to the number
of pedophiles and perverts that have been caught preying on teens
in chat rooms, posing as someone else.
Chat rooms allow
you to meet many people you do not know, and while this can lead
to fun friendships, it can also be a way for people who mean you
harm to gain access to you. You enter a chat room, strike up a conversation
with someone, and before you know it, you have made a new friend.
You need to remember that people can pretend to be whoever they
want to be online. You may meet someone online who seems sympathetic
and understanding, who gives you advice and seems to be your friend.
You can be talking to someone who calls herself Suzy and claims
she is 10 years old, who is really a 40-year-old male who is looking
to exploit you. Chat is a very popular activity for young people,
especially teenagers, but it is also probably the most dangerous
area on the Internet where they are most likely to get into trouble.
There are dozens of means of chatting on the Internet, but no matter
how you chat, keep in mind that the Internet is largely anonymous.
A friendly stranger in a chat room is still a stranger and not an
ideal person for you to trust with your phone number or other personal
Some chat rooms
are just open conversations with no moderation where everyone has
a pretty much equal role; some are moderated by a "leader"
who leads the discussion and participants; while others have chaperons
or monitors who are responsible for maintaining order and assess
what people write before anyone else gets to see it The monitor
can reprimand or even kick someone out of the room who is acting
in an inappropriate manner, but he or she can't, however, prevent
teens from going off to a private chat area with a person who might
do harm to them or put them in danger.
of chat rooms can encourage some people to harass others. More than
any other place online, chat rooms are grounds for pedophiles and
other predators trying to make contact with young people. In the
anonymous atmosphere of the Internet, where kids feel free to be
honest, conversations can quickly become intimate. Kids, especially
older ones, participating in chat rooms they find titillating, may
engage in flirting, or even cyber sex. It's not uncommon for teens
to make "friends" in chat rooms. Teens enter a room; start
a conversation with someone who gains their confidence by being
sympathetic and willing to "listen" to their problems
and offers them wonderful advice or counsel and before they know
it, they've established a relationship that can lead to them being
cyber stalked, sent pornography, or even pressured to arrange a
Most chat programs
include the option to send private messages, or chat one-on-one.
These private chats are sometimes called " instant messages
," or "buddy chats." Once someone gets you into a
private chat, he or she can say anything to you and no one else
can see. Sometimes people will include links to offensive material
like pornography in their private chat messages. Private chats have
been used by pedophiles to lure their victims into talking with
them on the telephone and meeting them in person. Do not accept
invitations to chat alone with people you do not know. Never give
out personal information such as your real name, telephone number,
and address. If you live in a small town, it's best to let people
know the state you live in.
a parent it is impossible to monitor what your children do on the
PC 100% of the time. With the dangers of online predators growing
you should take precautions now to find out if there is a problem
before it's too late. See our article on how to install a program
to monitor your child's or spouses computer activities