Sue Scheff: Dangers of Chat Rooms

Does your child, teen or do you venture into “Chat Rooms” online? Chat rooms are among the riskiest places on the Net for children and teens. Most Internet Predators are lingering waiting for their next victim in a variety of chat rooms. Don’t allow it to be your child.

As a Parent Advocate, I encourage all parents to take the steps to educate your children about cyber safety with a strong emphasis on chat room safety. October is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, which is a reason for you to set aside time to sit with your kids and discuss what lurks online.

Here are some great Chat Room safety tips from Connect Safely to share with your family:
Remember that what you say in a chat room or instant messaging session is live -- you can't take it back or delete it later.

1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want the public to know — this includes your full name, your address, phone number of other personal information.

2. Don't get together with someone you meet in a chat room. If you must, meet in a public place and bring along some friends.

3. Don’t reveal your actual location or when and where you plan to hang out.

4. Choose a nickname that's not sexually suggestive and doesn’t give away your real name.
5. If someone says or does something creepy, block them and don't respond.
6. Just sign out if the topic turns to sex. That can often lead somewhere you don't want to go.

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