Does your child or teen long to chat with their friends online? If they are like millions of others their age, chatting online is one of their favorite things to waste time doing. However, there is great risk associated with allowing your children to chat online. By using these safety tips, you can keep your children safe.
1. Chat Publicly: A great rule to abide to as a family is to only allow kids to chat in “family areas” of the home. For example, chatting in a family room or near an adult is a great way to ensure the child is behaving online. If you allow them to chat in their room (alone) they are more likely to disobey any chatting rules you’ve set.
2. Limit Access: To ensure your child isn’t meeting strangers, it’s a great idea to limit their access online. Only allow them to go to chat sites designed for teens or kids. These sites often go to great measures to ensure all language is appropriate and all members are underage.
3. Set Guidelines: Be sure to talk with your children about the importance of keeping all personal information private. Be specific and tell them not to tell anyone ANYTHING about themselves, where they live, their school, their sport teams or anything else.
4. Time Limits: Always set time limits on how often or how long a child can chat online. It’s great if you randomly mix up the times so your child can’t plan to “meet” someone they only know online at specific times. Of course, meeting a real life friend online for a chat is usually fine.