While online chatting can be a fun activity to pass the time or to blow off some steam after a hard day, they are also one of the preferred locations for predators with bad intentions to search and seduce their victims.
Image credit – Iain Farell
Still, there are ways to protect yourself and be safe while chatting online.
1. Keep your identity hidden
Maybe the most important thing to remember about chat rooms is that everyone present can see what you type there. Since it can be difficult to know all users in the chat rooms, it is best to refrain from divulging personal information that some mal-intended individuals could utilize to their advantage. The data that falls under the category of personal information which should be kept hidden includes your real name, email, phone number and address. Needless to point out that things such as passwords, social security number or banking details should never be made public regardless of the high security protocols of the online chat room.
2. Things are not always what they seem to be
In spite of the fact that you are currently having a nice and exciting conversation with a user, keep in mind that not all that glitters is gold. In case you didn’t know, online predators are well-renowned for their persuasiveness, charm and their impressive ability to build an online persona simply to gain your trust. Frankly, this is the real danger behind establishing real meetings with users whom you only interacted with via online chat rooms, especially if the get-together takes place in a non-public place.
3. Parents have a duty to inform and protect their children
The most exposed category of users who are very likely to fall in the trap of a predator are children. Given their trusting nature and the lack of experience, children can easily be convinced to continue a virtual relationship with such individuals. Parents who notice a relatively strange behavior in their kids lately should consider discussing the safety rules of online chats and what types of users are best avoided with their child. In addition, they could also install an online monitoring tool just to make sure their kids are safe while navigating online.
4. Never let your guard down
Image credit – Jepoirrier
In general, it is recommended to explain to your child why it is in his best interest to carry out conversations exclusively with people he knows and avoid complete strangers. However, it is necessary to mention that some predators can even spend months trying to earn a child’s trust. Consequentially, parents should ask to be introduced to these people, particularly if they start calling frequently and want to meet the child in person.
5. Perhaps it’s better to use only secured chat rooms
Image credit – Pr_ip
Depending on their role, chat rooms vary in size, security features and general topics discussed. In addition, while some chat rooms have moderators who enforce a certain code of conduct, others are free and allow anonymous users to participate in the discussions. In order to keep safe you should select a chat room you feel is appropriate and is able to meet your needs and preferences.
Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Pete Newman
This guest post is courtesy a freelancer named Pete Newman. A fun loving person, he likes talking about various pro’s and con’s of technology on his blog. He is particlularly impressed with the online monitoring software Webwatcher mobile using which he can keep track of the data in his office pc using his smartphone.