Chatting Online and Child Safety
The internet offers great opportunities to interact and
communicate with friends and people from all over the world. Chatting over the
Internet can be done with a group of people in a chatroom, or with the person
you are playing an online game against. As well as being able to add your
comments to a conversation ongoing in a chatroom or online game between a number
of people, it is also usually possible to chat privately to one person in these
environments. There are potential risks in communicating to people that
you don�t know, and unfortunately some children have been hurt having gone to
meet the �friends� they have made online. Adults with a sexual interest in
children have used chatrooms and other interactive areas online to make contact
with and befriend children, and then �groomed� them, ie persuaded and
manipulated them to meet up where they have been abused.
Title: Chatting Online and Child Safety
Author: Home Office
Number of pages: 5
Date published: July 2006
Availability: Download full report
This document aims to help parents and carers in their
understanding of what good practice is in the provision of chat services, to help them help their children find �good� chatrooms and to be aware of how to chat safely.
This document is a summary of the good practice models and
guidance for the internet industry published by the Home Office Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet
on chat services as well as on moderation. The original documents were chiefly aimed at chat providers (as well
as Instant Messaging and other web-based services providers) to make them aware of what good practice is,
but this information is also relevant to parents and carers to help them know what makes a good service, enabling
them to identify such a service for their children to use.
The smart rules – How to stay safe while chatting
It is important that your children know how to stay in control
online. The SMART rules will enable children to be safe and be smart online.
Safe: Keep safe by
being careful not to give out your personal information such as your name, e-mail, home address or school name, phone number –
to people online.
someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. If you feel that you �have to� meet, then for your
own safety you must tell you parent or carer and take them with you � at least on the first visit.
emails, messages on IM or opening files, pictures or texts from people you don�t really know or trust can lead to problems �
they may contain viruses which can wreck your computer, or nasty messages and images.
that people online may not be who they say they are, and so online �friends� are really strangers, no matter how many times
you have chatted with them, unless you know and trust them in the �offline world.�
Tell: Tell your
parent or carer if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.
Getting a copy
Download Chatting Online and Child
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Last update: 08 August 2006