The importance of protecting children, teens and tweens while online cannot be stated enough. There is countless number of predators out there just waiting eagerly and aggressively to pounce on them. Computers and Internet makes it easier for them to find children, teens and tweens in chat rooms where communication is on finger tips, instant. And, because children, teens and even tweens are so young, they may not have the intuition to be careful with whom she is talking, and quickly fall into a trap.
Mostly Predators target Chat Rooms
A predator locates victims by using Internet chat rooms. He is looking for a certain tween profile. It is someone who is the right sex and age preference for the predator. The predator checks out what everyone is chatting about. He wants to see if the tween he has chosen is having fun or if nobody is talking to her. A predator will check out the personal information the tween has provided on the site. He is looking for something to chat with the tween about.
Usually a predator tries to get the unsuspecting tween into a private conversation. Most of the chat rooms, or else all of those, provide this option. It resembles instant messaging, but is in the confines of a chat room. The next step for the predator is to lure this tween into meeting with him by pretending that he is a tween as well. The predator is usually looking for sex, but sometimes meeting with these predators can be fatal for the child. In severe cases, kids are often kidnapped and abused.
Approaching the Subject of Chat Rooms
Often times a tween is very vulnerable online, thinking nothing bad can happen, even though she has heard all the lectures about not talking to strangers while surfing the web. Many interactive games make it possible for people to chat, and even though kid-friendly sites are making leaps and bounds with making chat rooms safe, there are loopholes that predators find in order to lure young children.
It is the responsibility of parents and custodians to teach a child about the dangers of strangers on the Internet. The web is a huge socializing tool in this modern age of technology, so it is more important than ever to talk about Internet safety. Some topics to discuss with a tween concerning chat rooms include:
Avoiding chatting with anyone she doesn’t know
Setting up private chat rooms where only friends are invited and not outsiders
Logging off an account before leaving a website
Make sure your tween understands the threat that strangers pose while in chat rooms. There are too many stories of children who have been seduced by online predators, so a strong impression does need to be made, but not to the point of scaring a child.
Explain to a tween the need to understand that personal information such as name, address, and phone number should never be given out over the Internet. It is very easy for predators to snatch such private and sensitive information without the child suspecting a single thing.
Teach a tween what danger signs to look for while chatting online. These include such danger signs as:
Chatting becomes too personal or obscene
Something doesn’t feel right
The person requests to meet
A promise of expensive gifts for favors is made
The person bluntly asks for personal information
If any of these danger signs occur, a tween should be told to come and tell a parent or guardian immediately. At this point the responsible adult should keep what is on the screen open, and contact the local police to check out the situation. If the screen is exited, then there may be no recourse to finding the predator again.
Parents should keep an eye out for abbreviations, as mentioned below, during a tween chat:
PA (parent alert)
WTGP (want to go private)
NIFOC (naked in front of computer)
These are some of the valid clues that a tween might be in trouble or may land up in a big problem. They could be talking to an online predator who is a bad influence, which could result in dire consequences. Stay educated about tween chat rooms. Predators have no scruples, so tweens chatting online need to be monitored very closely.
The NIFOC is mostly common on webcam chat sites like www.sexcams.com.
Parental Controls Feature on Internet and Computer
Parents or custodians are suggested to be aware of a child’s online activities. When it comes to tween surfing habits, privacy should only go so far. There is nothing wrong with a parent checking to see what sites a tween has been on or else blocking certain sites from their entry. This is the whole reason for parental controls being installed on the computer in the first place. Safety should be your major concern, because these predators intend to harm your child knowingly or unknowingly.
Setting parental controls is easy on the Internet. Parents or custodians simply need to read the owner’s manual that comes with the computer to find out how to apply the desired settings.
The Internet, and particularly the chat services, should be a safe place for anyone who wants to use it, but it’s not. To this end, parents and custodians need to be a child’s advocate and make sure what kids are seeing online is safe. It takes work and time to keep up with the changes, but it is also true that these are worth in the long run.
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