Instant Message &
by Donna Rice Hughes
Chatroom Safety Tips
Tips for Adults
- Recognize that chatrooms are the playground of today's sexual
predator. Even monitored chatrooms offered by some Internet
service providers are not able to detect a disquised predator
lurking in a chatroom. Therefore, we strongly urge parents to
not allow your children to go into chatrooms. Most parental
controls and filters offer an option for parents to disallow
- 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 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
- Do not permit your child to have an online profile which serve
as a lightening 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
- Be aware that when anyone enters a chat room, their email
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 email.
Tips for Kids
- Never give out personal information (such as name, age, address,
phone number, school, town, password, schedule, your picture)
or fill out questionnaires or any forms online.
- Never meet in person with anyone you have met online without
Mom and/or Dad's presence.
- Do not enter a chat room without Mom and/or Dad's presence
or supervision. Some “kids” you meet in chat rooms may not really
be kids; they may be adults with bad intentions. Remember, people
may not be who they say they are.
- Be suspicious of anyone who tries to turn you against your
parents, teachers, or friends. They may have a hidden agenda.
- Never respond to or send email or instant message to new people
you meet online. Talk to your parents first so that they can
check it out. Also, do not engage in an online conversation
that makes you feel uncomfortable. Log off and tell your parents.
If you get such a message, DO NOT respond. Sending a response
only encourages the person. Instead, show it to your parents
and let them handle it.