For Kids
What It Means  
For Adults
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I hope to make friends -- but I am cautious.

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Chat rooms can be a great way to 'meet' new friends. However, you can't take things at face value, especially when you can't see someone's face. Being cautious when talking to people you really don't know is not only a good idea, it is the only way to protect yourself from creeps and crazies.

While honesty may be your policy, not everyone plays by that rule. In fact, there are those who never play fair, and make up whatever they think you want to hear in order to gain your confidence - and intrude into your life.

Chat rooms are the online equivalent of having pen pals. The difference is that pen-pal friendships develop slowly over time. Chats are a very popular activity for cyberspacers of all ages. Chats are also places where, kids in particular, find trouble because people are not always who or what they claim to be. These rooms are 'public places' and the true identity and intent of someone in a chat area is difficult to determine. Be wary of people who try to gain your trust by being too friendly and too helpful, too quickly.

No matter how many times you chat with someone, even if you think you know and can trust them - NEVER but NEVER arrange to meet anyone in person unless your parents agree. Even then, your parent or another adult should go with you - and it's best to meet in an open, public place.

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Whether on or off the Internet: 'Do you know where your kids are?' It is just as important to know the chat rooms and Web sites your child frequents, as any other 'real-life' place they may visit. You don't want them in the 'seedy side' of town, nor on the 'seedy side' of the Web.

There are ways you can help kids avoid problems in chat rooms. Make certain the chat is maintained and supervised by reputable people. Only allow them into rooms run by an accredited company or organization that carefully monitors activities. Instruct your child to be skeptical of strangers, and never divulge personal information. In-person meetings with someone they met in a chat room must be strictly forbidden without first checking with you. And even then, you should accompany them to a public meeting place.

Ask us about software and monitoring tools that can help you teach your kids appropriate chat room and Internet behavior.

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TM & © 2000 - 2015 CyberSpacers, Inc. All rights reserved.