Chatting with strangers can cause several different issues. Children chatting with strangers is a problem that has the ability to escalate into something far more serious. Children as young as 7 or 8 years old can become targets of unthinkable crimes. There are a few ways that you can protect and prevent yourself and your children from becoming victims.
Computer Privacy and Protection
There are several ways that you can protect yourself and your family from becoming victims of several different other crimes. A lot of the time, when children are in a chat room, they do not know who they are speaking to, nor the age that the person is. For the most part, a parent does know either. Due to this factor, there are several walls that you can put up so that your child has a more difficult time getting into this type of contact with people.
As far as computer protection is concerned, you can set up several security sets on your computer so that your child will not be allowed on sites that have a certain rating. Most chat rooms have a certain rating that a computer can catch and block the site. This gets a lot more difficult to do with children who are over the age of 13.
If you are not computer savvy, you may not know the ins and outs of how a chat room works and how to block certain websites. For this reason, you may want to take a few classes in the technology field just to keep your family safe.
Methods of Chatting with Strangers
A stranger can get your child to talk to him or her using several different methods. Some people say that they know the individual’s parents or other relatives in order to get the child to meet them somewhere. Some children are a little harder to con than others, so strangers will have to go the extra mile to con them and get them out of their homes.
There are some strangers that are computer savvy that will be able to find out where you live and how many people live in your home. This may not seem life beneficial information, but it is just enough information to make any household become a victim of chatting with strangers. When strangers have this little bit of information, some strangers can show up at your home without you knowing it.
Most children know not to talk to strangers, but strangers have a few different ways that they can get a child’s trust. Candy plays a major factor in this instance. For older children, they have to have something a little better than candy, but nonetheless, whatever technique is used, it has the ability to work.
There is nothing worse than becoming a victim of a situation that could have been avoided. There are a few things that you can do in order to keep your child safe and prevent your family from being a victim and wondering what you could have done differently.
Showing Your Child Love and Affection
Love and affection go a longer way than you think. Showing your child that you care for them and their well-being means a lot more than purchasing any toys or clothes that they may want. A lot of family members give children everything under the sun that they ask for to keep them in line, but this just makes the situation worse. Giving your child love and affection is one of the best things that you can do for your child. When you do this, they have no need to seek love and affection from anywhere or anyone else.
Being Able to Spend Quality Time
Spending quality time with your child is another essential factor that you need to be aware of. When you spend time with your children, they are less likely to spend all of their time hovering over a computer, trying to find something to do. It will be a good idea to set a schedule and offer as little as two to three hours of computer time on a daily basis. Get out and be active outside of the home so that staying on the computer all day and every night does not become appealing. Keep in mind that these instances are more effective with children over the age of 13 years of age.
What do you need to remember about the Chat with Strangers Phenomenon?
Unsuspecting individuals and their families are vulnerable to a whole new world of threats and input from strangers. Because of this inevitable situation, persons in authority must take appropriate steps to prevent vulnerable individuals from being victims of their own naivete. Parents and authority figures need to take a resoundingly unpopular stand by curtailing potentially dangerous behaviour on the part of their kids and charges by establishing a mechanism which ideally prevents impressionable individuals s to protecting the people they want to protect.
Internet controls intended to curb this behaviour are not as effective as one would hope because a whole industry has grown up around trying to defeat the controls. The answer, then, would seem to lie in instilling a sort of discipline in the individuals needing protection from themselves. Making those individuals see the need to govern their actions is harder than it sounds, and may not be a totally realistic option. Because this is not the sort of thing that can be fixed by legislation or enacting laws. Resorting to government controls is not a practical situation either.
There are already laws on the books which purport to make some of this illegal; those laws are not effective at saving people from themselves or people determined to cause harm. Immature, inexperienced individuals of any chronological age are generally unaware of the risks that may come from interacting with strangers over the Internet. This awareness is a skill that must be taught by sharing knowledge about what could go wrong by sharing the wrong thing with the wrong stranger.
Interacting with individuals over the Internet by visiting a site to chat with a stranger can put the person seeking friendship from the chat in danger of bullying over the Internet. Just because the perpetrator does not have access to the victim to commit physical harm does not mean that bullying cannot occur. Bullying happens whenever fear or intimidation is involved.
When the perpetrator acts or speaks in such a way that a sense of fear and intimidation is experienced by the victim, that victim has been bullied as surely as if the victim has a black eye or another wound. Bullying does not require a physical manifestation to be real; that is why it is so insidious and hard to detect or control. Cyberbullying is a very real threat to the vulnerable, immature, inexperienced, or unaware.
Outlawing sites to chat with strangers would involve the abridgement of rights fundamental to living as Americans. While the U.S. Constitution does not specifically deal with whom a person may talk or associate, it does guarantee certain “inalienable rights” which presumably include the right to freely associate with others. Simply because certain individuals make questionable choices when deciding whom to befriend or contact does not mean that the government should place controls on citizens’ right to free assembly, which is an elongated stretch of this basic principle.
Education on the potential damage capable of being caused by an injudicious decision to visit sites to chat with strangers should be used as a means of protecting individuals who might be victimized through such interaction. But to curb what individuals may or may not say on those sites would be a limitation of the right to free speech. The most proper vehicle for that control lies within the family.
Despite the fact that not all families operate like the ideal sitcom family of Beaver Cleaver, there is no place in government to absorb the responsibility of protecting individuals who troll the Internet looking for friends to chat with. The liberties upon which the United States was founded have been secured for Americans at the price of human lives. Those liberties should not be swept away to prevent bad decisions or unfortunate choices made by people who are unable to understand the consequences of their choices in whom to chat with or befriend. Affecting those choices is not within the purview of the American government to maintain.