Parental Control - Monitoring Chat Rooms and Secret Acronyms
Are you aware of how much time your children are spending chatting on the internet? Why as a parent should you monitor your children's chatting sessions?
As an apprehensive parent, you have the ability to recognize what your children are chatting about on the home computer and anywhere else. The internet is a magnificent source for all types of information, but information can be just as powerful as a bad influence.
Warning signs How can you as a parent tell that your children may be a casualty (or is currently being inticed or induces) by an internet sex offender? If you as a parent have experienced any of the subsequent, you have a very big reason for alarm.
· Spending many long hours on the internet (above all in the evening)
· Telephone conversations from people you never have met or know
· Unsolicited gifts arriving through the postal mail
· Your child switches off the PC or computer when parents enter the bedroom or room where the computer is located.
· Alienation from household and family activities and functions.
· Unwillingness to talk about Internet activities
Tips and instructions for protecting and caring for your children online. The finest way to guard your children online is to demonstrate to him or her how to utilize the Internet carefully and safely. As parents we can help guard our children from online sex offenders and predators by asking them to go along with some simple rules and internet home policy.
· At all times use a "screen name". By no means never give out your real name, phone number or where you live or school you attend.
· At all times tell dad/mom if you receive any threatening message that is terrifying or upsetting.
· By no means pass along your photographs over the world wide web (or through the internet or e-mail).
· By no means be in agreement to be acquainted with anyone in person that you came in contact with by e-mail or in a chat room.
· By no means pass out or give your software or email password to anyone.
· By no means agree to enter secretive chatting rooms.
· By no means believe everything someone says to you online as the truth.
Are you aware of what your children are typing while chatting online.
Start typing away in a real-time chat room, and you'll quickly realize why so many people use the acronyms and "emoticons"--those cute little smiles. Typing "Be right back" to all eight conversations you have open at the moment takes forever. Typing "BRB" is a whole lot easier.
Picture how you use "R.S.V.P." in invitations. You probably don't even know the exact words it stands for (répondez s'il vous plaît--French for 'respond, please') but you know that when you see it, you have to tell the sender whether or not you're going to the party. For an even closer version, think way back when secretaries used shorthand. Both of these save time by shortening commonly used phrases. Same concept, different people, and of course, completely different symbols.
Other acronyms are harmless but will effectively stump your neurons. IMHO does not say "I'm a ho," it means "In My Humble Opinion"--usually used when you do not consider your opinion to be quite so humble but are very happy to pretend it is.
Many other acronyms could be either worrisome or good. ILU (I Love You) would be sweet to see your teen typing to his or her grandparents--whether or not they understand is another story! However, if your teen says this to strangers, you can be worried.
GmaJones: Well honey, this newfangled technology is giving me a headache. I need to go.
TeenWeRTalkingAbout: Ok. Nice talking to you! ILU!
CreepyStranger: Honey, I'll see you later.
TeenWeRTalkingAbout: Ok. ILU!
Many acronym lists focus on the dangerous acronyms because these are the ones you need to look out for. IPN (I'm Posting Naked) and NIFOC (Naked In Front of Computer) are obviously worrisome if you find your teen posting it. However, there is an entire dictionary's worth of acronyms available and your teen or preteen can most likely figure them all out. Many acronyms are devoted to keeping parents out of the loop--PNB (Parents Near By), POS (Parent Over Shoulder), SOS (Sister Over Shoulder), etc.
CreepyStranger: IPN darling!
TeenWeRTalkingAbout: Shh! PNB!
There are always dangers on the internet, but understanding what your child is talking about doesn't need to be one of them. Ask your teen, or do a little research. A simple Google search will usually turn up a definition for any acronym you type.
Above all, always keep connections running between you and your teen. Explain what proper and improper online conduct is, and let them know it is about safety more than it is about controlling them.
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