Keeping Kids Safe in Chat Rooms

Chat rooms are a natural form of socialization and exploration for teenagers in the 21st century. They provide an interactive lifestyle for many people and an outlet for expression, making new connections and in some cases even romantic encounters.

However, the stakes can be much higher in online chat rooms as opposed to making friends in real life. The uncertainties exist, not knowing if what appears to be real, really is, and the margin for error can be much higher.

The anonymity of chat rooms allows people to present varying identities.

This makes it an interesting challenge for parents trying to keep their teenagers safe on the Internet. It can be very hard to discern between a sheep and a wolf in sheeps clothing, as there are predators prowling in many of the chat rooms that exist online.

Engaging in chat with these unsavoury characters is a dreadful thought, but what is worse is the prospect of teenagers being lured into a face to face meeting.

Many teens are able to exercise common but even the most sceptical teen can be swayed or manipulated into doing something against their good judgement.

Teenagers are a curious bunch when it comes to new relationships, and letting ones guard down for only a moment can lead to serious repercussions.

Things to look for:

Many predators will try to assume the identity of another teenager, even though they may in actuality, be much older.

Some predators are quite diligent and will take weeks or months to form a relationship under a false identity.

By the time there is actually a face-to-face meeting, a teenager will probably already feel like he or she knows the stranger, and has developed trust. This is exactly what the predator wants.

And unfortunately, the consequences can include disappearances, rape and murder.

Another potential pitfall in chat rooms is the phenomenon of cyber stalking. If a teenager is not careful about divulging personal information, there is the possibility of an unwanted person following their every move. Especially if they have the childs information such as email address, phone number, street address or photos.

Tips for parents:

Parents need to encourage their teens to practice safe surfing while engaging in chat rooms. Drive it home to them to report anything obscene, offensive, or threatening while using these rooms. Most chat rooms will have the perpetrator removed if they are committing these kinds of acts.
Make sure your child is well-versed in online privacy procedures.

Give them the facts and make sure they are aware of the consequences of posting personal information. It is the responsibility of the parent to make sure that their child is equipped with the knowledge to make smart choices while on the internet. Make Internet safety a priority in your home.


About the Author (text)Ryan Hagen

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