Chat rooms are very popular with kids and teens right now. Sites like myspace.com and others can be a great way for kids to get to know other kids and teens who share the same interests as them. But, just as with nearly every other good thing, chat rooms have a dangerous side as well. Online predators, harassment, inappropriate language and other concerns can all be found in chat rooms that cater to kids and teens. So, before your children get online, you need to make sure that they understand all of the rules on the information highway.
Suggestions for Parents:
1. One of the best things that you can do to monitor your child’s use of chat rooms is to have your computer in a public place. This will not only give you an easy way to check what they are doing, but you can limit their time online as well.
2. Since you cannot be watching your children constantly while they are online using chat rooms, you can purchase a software program that will monitor their use. Some programs can record “conversations,” limit your child’s time online, and even prevent your child from sharing personal information.
3. Have a discussion with your child to let them know the rules and then post the rules for using chat rooms and the internet. Make sure they understand and agree to all of the rules.
4. Get your child’s login name and password for any chat rooms that they visit.
Rules for kids:
1. Never tell anyone what you look like, where you live, what your phone number is, or give out your full name.
2. Only use rooms that have a moderator.
3. If you see any language, pictures, etc. that are inappropriate or mean, talk to your parents or contact the moderator immediately.
4. Don’t agree to meet anyone you meet online without permission from your parents.
5. Don’t send your picture or anything else to anyone you meet online unless your parents agree.
6. Never give out your password or login information to anyone except your parents.
7. Ask permission before you have a “private chat” or IM.