Teaching Your Children Chat Room Safety

How and What to Teach to Your Kids about Online Chat Room Safety
chat-rooms-internet-safety for kidsChat rooms have a reputation that is, thanks to the media, frequently one that instills a sense of dread and terror in the minds of parents. Whilst there are serious safety issues to be considered you need to be aware that chat rooms are a huge part of many children's social interactions and that by exercising appropriate cautions and teaching your child the necessary skills to interact in these online rooms is an absolute necessity.
The first port of call must of course be educating ourselves in order that we can teach our children. So with that in mind we will briefly go over are the types of chat rooms available and the ways in which they work. Firstly we have private chat rooms. Private chat rooms are generally invitation only and between a select group of friends or people who share a particular interest. These chat rooms will often have moderators who oversee member's behaviour and enforce strict code of conduct.
Moderated or Un-moderated Public Chat Rooms: Chat Roulette type Style
Secondly we have public chat rooms which can either be moderated or un-moderated and which can be geared towards a particular pursuit or interest or simply open discussion on any topic. These chat rooms often focus on adults but some exist for children to chat amongst their peers. Thirdly, a recent trend that you may have encountered is what has become known as chat roulette. Chat roulette is un-moderated chat where you are paired against a complete stranger often using a web camera to vie the stranger you are paired against. Finally we have adult chat rooms. These are adult chat rooms focusing exclusively on adult material and discussions. These rooms are often explicit in nature and can be either moderated or un-moderated. Often these have rudimentary age verifications and little real security.
How to Safe guard Kids?
Now we turn to the suitability of each form of chat room and how to guard against each kind. Firstly private chat rooms can both be safe and unsafe. If your child wishes to use a private chat room you should moderate their access to it depending on the members and security of the chat room. If the chat room is for a group of friends or is specifically set up for children to chat in you should check how access is available and who is in control of members and moderation. If these controls are not in place you should exercise caution.
Secondly public chat rooms are often un-moderated so you should always exercise extreme caution when allowing your child access to them. Also public chat rooms may be themed towards children's activities but as they are public you cannot guarantee that the members involved are themselves in the appropriate age group. Thirdly chat roulette should not be allowed for children under any circumstances as there is a lot of inappropriate behaviour, nudity, foul language and other things that make the activity unsuitable to say the least. Finally adult chat rooms should of course be blocked from your children as the content is often incredibly explicit.
Having come to understand the various forms of chat rooms available you need to now be aware of how to educate your child in their behaviour in them. Firstly you need to explain to them which forms of chat rooms it is appropriate for them to use and secondly you need to make sure they are educated towards the appropriate behaviour on them. Explaining the dangers of chat rooms will make your child aware of how to conduct themselves in them. When it comes to educating your child you need to explain privacy of their private details and why they should not share them with anyone. Finally when it comes to keeping your children safe on the internet make sure that your child understands how to report inappropriate behaviour and that they can talk to you about any problems.
This is an exclusive Guest Post for Talkfree7 Tech Blog.
Jane writes about internet safety for kids to help raise awareness about the potential dangers of their digital world. For further information please visit the Vodafone Parents Guide.
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