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1/27/2011 - Chat room safety tips from the CVPD

There are thousands of chat rooms on the internet. Chat rooms are meeting places where you can have real time conversations over the internet with many people at the same time.

There are public chat rooms where anyone can take part or private chat rooms for invited guests only.

Chat rooms fulfill many useful purposes, but one still needs to think about safety. People can enter a room to converse or remain invisible. Itís an anonymous environment where people may feel less inhibited and reveal more information about themselves than they may intend to. Conversations can become intimate.

Because of the anonymouse nature of chat rooms, they can become cruising grounds for predators, including sexual offenders, leading to people being sent pornography, being cyber-stalked or even pressured to meet in the real world.

Here are some tips about chat room safety:

  • Understand that nothing is private online.
  • Online predators are very convincing and will spend weeks, months and even years building trust and desensitizing victims with the intention of meeting them in the real world.
  • Attaching photos on to a website or on to a chat room is risky.
  • Combining web cameras with chat is an opportunity for abuse.
  • Teach kids never to leave public areas to go into private areas.
  • Be aware that some chat rooms offer live monitoring and some offer electronic monitoring.
  • If you decide to visit a chat room you should experience the chat room as a guest to learn who is talking, what they're talking about or how they're using the service.
  • Learn the abbreviated language of chat rooms.
  • Use the block or ignore buttons to stop seeing messages from particular people.
  • Many chat rooms even archive the conversations.
  • Use age and gender neutral nicknames.

Enjoy your time online, but do it safely and with awareness that things arenít always what they seem in cyberspace.

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City Of Chula Vista



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