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    Q490: Is it safe for my child to use a chatroom?

    Chatrooms can be a fun past time for your children. However, there are some dangers in using chatrooms and both parents and children need to be aware of them.

    Some people use the internet and chatrooms as a method to gain contact with children and subsequently enter into inappropriate and illegal relationships, as they can create false identities and remain anonymous. They may use a method known as 'grooming', which involves using deceiving techniques to entice the child to meet with them. These may include building trust with the child and creating different personas etc... There is a government website which gives a more comprehensive overview of this activity and has a version for parents and children which sets out the possible dangers of communicating with strangers online and how to make chatrooms a safer place to be - Thinkuknow, see related websites for that and other helpful websites.

    A few basic tips are -

    • never give out any personal details
    • always be wary, some users on the internet are not who they say they are
    • never arrange to meet anyone you have met through a chatroom unless you are 100% sure they are of your age and they are who they say they are. Even then, tell your parents, take them or another responsible adult with you and always meet in a public place.

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