Internet chat rooms are becoming more and more a significant part of an ever-increasing online life, especially for new generations. As we all know, there is an ever rising number of children that are in danger of being targeted by Pedophiles and other undesirables through chat rooms and other social media platforms that are becoming ubiquitous on the internet and in App Stores. This article is number one in a series of articles that are dedicated to helping parents understand how to keep their children safe while on the internet in today’s world.
Ever since the internet came to life the several different types of police, including the FBI in the US and SOCA in the UK, as well as non-government intelligence agencies like Perverted Justice, the team that did the “undercover” work on Dateline NBC’s “to Catch A Predator” and many other internet watchdogs have been receiving an increase in reports about persons who are attempting to coerce and manipulate children for their own sick and perverted fantasies. Sexual predators, cyber bullies, online scammers and obscene websites are all lurking on the internet, lurking in chat rooms and where you least expect them to be. Even so, Big Brother is not always watching.
Educate your children to never meet with a stranger from the internet
Before children are exposed to the internet, they first need to be taught and educated on the dangers of the internet, especially since children are just that — children. Adults are capable of recognizing danger while children are not as able to decipher such things. Children are easily manipulated into believing and thinking that what they are seeing is actually true. This is especially true in chat rooms. When children are talking with strangers whom they believe to be the same age as themselves children often find that the other person may suddenly in the beginning seem normal but slowly start to change their behavior by expressing lewd and grossly inappropriate language. This behavior by the predator is called “grooming.”
Parents have several fears but studies have shown that children feel invincible on the internet. They feel that nothing can happen to them since they are protected. Truth be told…boy oh boy are they ever wrong.
There are many different ways to explain just what the dangers of the internet chat room really are to their children. Chat rooms are virtual places on the internet where people can get together and “talk” using text. Children are unknowingly at risk because the presence of such a large online community of anonymous strangers and the unfiltered, unmoderated discussions.
Both parents and their children need to be aware of the potential risks of using chat rooms, and how to overcome them. For starters, parents need to explain to their children that in going into chat rooms on the internet they will be encountering comments that are violent, sexual, extremist or racist in nature, and they will also encounter several offensive activities as well as hateful attitudes.
Parents must explain to their children that they will encounter people in chat rooms that may be cyber stalkers who intend to threaten or harass you, they will encounter people who will attempt to change their ideologies as well as pressure them into having talks of a sexual and inappropriate nature. Parents also need to tell their children that they will encounter unrestrained expressions of opinions of other people who’s main intention is to make their chatting experience very unpleasant for everyone else in the chatroom. This is called “trolling.” Likewise, it is important that parents inform their children that others will attempt to trick them into releasing and divulging personal information. This can be very dangerous and children must be extremely careful about what they do or say in the chat room.
Important things for parents to educate their children about include:
There are many important things a parent must teach their child before allowing them access to chat rooms
1.) Parents should their children to never send a picture of themselves or anyone else to anyone unless they know that person in real life and not just know them as a “friend that they met on the Internet,” no matter how well the child believes that they know the person on the other end of the computer.
2.) It is crucial that parents educate their kids on the negatives of using a web camera. They should tell their children not to use their web cams unless they have the permission of mom or dad first. Once a child starts using a web cam they can easily be manipulated into sending more and more revealing pictures of themselves.
3.) Parents should tell their children to never ever EVER give out personal information about themselves, their friends, or any family members. Parents should tell their kids that giving out personal information puts the whole family – and possibly even their friends – at risk as well.
4.) Parents should tell their children to Never, Never, Never, under any circumstances arrange to meet anyone that they have originally met through contact on the computer. “Stranger danger” has migrated to the Internet and real life experiences can have dangerous and horrid consequences for children.
5.) Parents should let their children know just what they are doing and what contacts they are making on the internet for their own safety and well being. Parents should frequently monitor these contacts.
6.) Parents should tell their children to never click on anything unless it comes from a trusted source. Do not click on links, do not open any attachments. Spyware is common, and a predator, for example, can turn on and view a camera remotely, gain access to personal information such that a child may be easily manipulated and more.
7.) Parents should tell their children that if they choose to enter into a public chat room/server to stay in the public chat and to not go into a private chat room. This is so due to the fact that public chat rooms usually have people in them, including perhaps a monitor, who might notice if there is something wrong. This is not the case when a child engages in private messaging. If a child is in a private chat room alone with someone….there is no one there to help them out if they need help. Often a child will not feel free to just leave the chat and achieve safety in that manner.
8.) Parents should also have their children, for their own safety, use their devices in the open where they can be observed and monitored on what their children are doing while on the internet. Internet “nanny” monitoring software is also recommended. Parents should also make a practice of periodically doing a cell phone search to make sure that that safety is being exercised on the phone as well. Chat rooms are accessible from cell phones as well.
Although parents want to protect their children for their entire lives, they can’t protect their children against everything. The most parents can do is educate their children on internet safety. The best way that a parent can do that is to educate their child of potential dangers and stay involved in a child’s internet activity.
If you have questions please feel free to email Dr. Dreamz at: TehDrDreamz@Protonmail.com
This is a guest post by “Dr. Dreamz.” This post has been edited for syntax and grammar. The Law offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein. This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice. This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any sort. If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice. Jay Leiderman, known as the “Hacktivist’s Advovate” practices Internet Law.