Parental tips regarding instant messaging & chatroom safety

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
>– Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily monitor your child’s Internet activity.

— Teach your children not to give out personal information to anyone that they do not know in the physical world. Also, teach them never to give out any personal info while they are in a chat room with friends, because there may also be others in the chat room that they do not know.

— Supervise your child’s chat-room activity and only allow your children in monitored chat rooms.

— Block instant/personal messages from people you and your child don’t know. (Check to see which instant messaging (IM) services have this feature.)

— Set time limits and monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem.

— Regularly ask your kids about their online friends and activities. Be present in the room so you can monitor the screen and your child’s IM.

— Do not permit your child to have an online profile, which serve as a lightning rod for predators. With this restriction, he or she will not be listed in directories and is less likely to be approached in chat rooms where pedophiles often search for prey.

— Be aware that when anyone enters a chat room, their e-mail can end up on a spammer’s list. This means that participating in chat rooms can increase the likelihood that you will begin receiving unsolicited pornographic e-mail.

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