Aside from the endless hours we spend on Gchat at work, online chatting is mostly a kid’s game. But the responsibility falls on adults to know the basics of safe chatting so that they can educate their children. It can be difficult to get the point across to your kids that online chatting can be a dangerous pastime, so here are five tips to help accomplish that task.
- Protect Your Identity: Don’t choose an online ID that uses your real name, and never give any information during a chat that can be used to identify or locate you. This includes your last name, photos of you, what school you go to, where you hang out, and locational information such as your state, city and, obviously, your street address.
- Trust No One: It’s fine to chat with your friends online, but know that people online are sometimes not who they say they are, so you should never meet anyone in person who you only know online. Even if you’re sure you know who someone is, remember that predators are really good at creating personas to deceive kids.
- Chat Rooms vs. IMing: You should always use a secure chat room, but even those aren’t completely safe just because they are observed by moderators, as that won’t stop some people from starting inappropriate conversations and saying things that can make you feel uncomfortable. And IM chats aren’t necessarily safe either; don’t accept a chat invitation from anyone you don’t know personally, and never give your IM or chat password out to anyone, including friends.
There are a ton of predators out there who are really good at deceiving and earning the trust of children, so both parents and kids alike need to always be vigilant about who they are chatting with, what they are chatting about, and what information they are sharing.
- Talk to your Parents: Parents need to talk to their kids about what type of chat rooms they are using, and what kinds of conversations are appropriate. Allowing kids to chat only with people that both the kids and the parents know personally is a safe approach. Kids need to feel free to talk to their parents when a chat starts to become uncomfortable or inappropriate.
- Keep your Guard Up: When it comes to online chat, never let your guard down. There are a ton of predators out there who are really good at deceiving and earning the trust of children, so both parents and kids alike need to always be vigilant about who they are chatting with, what they are chatting about, and what information they are sharing. Parental control systems in products such as Kaspersky PURE can help enforce rules and keep children safe, as well.