Online Chat Safety

In today’s day and age, online safety is a priority for parents of kids of all ages. As social networking sites and mobile applications become the new norm as means of day-to-day communication amongst kids and adults, a child’s online reach without proper supervision is seemingly endless.

Online Chat Safety
"John Ward" by Keyboard 2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Internet has made it easy for kids and adults to communicate across the globe within seconds. Are you prepared for what this could mean for your child’s safety while online? Use the following tips and insight to help equip your family with the knowledge they need to stay safe when chatting and messaging online.

  1. Be aware of your kids’ online activities: To keep kids safe while they surf the web and chat with online friends, parents like you must first identify the need to become familiar with what social networking tools and online chat systems the kids regularly use. Start by making sure there is always an open dialogue between you and your kids when it comes to their general use of the internet. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and basic live messenger systems like g-chat or yahoo messenger, kids are communicating online in record numbers. If your kids elect to use these types of platforms to connect with friends, do your research and become familiar with any available privacy settings that could help your kids stop from sharing too much information with the general public.
  2. Teach the kids basic online etiquette: Due tot the remote nature of chatting and messaging while online, young users like your kids can easily forget basic rules and tips for handling online social interactions. For example, it is best to advise your kids to not share any personal or identifiable information when it comes to chatting with new online friends. If they do not personally know the people they are chatting with, they should treat them with the same precautions as they would in meeting a complete stranger. Remind your kids that it is essential to keep all private information private.

Additionally, make sure that your kids are comfortable removing themselves from any online chats that make them feel in any way uncomfortable. Be sure that they are aware of the fact that many online chat systems will allow users to block or limit interactions with people that they would rather avoid. Whether they feel like they are being bullied or approached by an online predator they need to use their better judgment to stop online abuse as soon as they identify it.

Do what you can to regularly monitor and openly discuss online use when it comes to your kids and their online chatting habits. Open communication between you and your child is first and foremost the most important tool for keeping them safe.

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