With the spread of the Internet, mobile phones and Wi-Fi-connected devices, children and young people can access platforms and content anywhere and anytime as long as they are connected.

Most of the time, these Internet connections bring positive opportunities and benefits when children use the Internet for homework, chatting with friends, connecting to social media, sharing photos, creating videos, music, play games, access chat rooms, use file-sharing sites and more.

But children are entirely exposed to online risks such as exposure to pornography, receiving sex messages, being targeted for sexual exploitation and abuse, and so on. One of the riskiest platforms is the online chatting room or online communication. This article will analyze the 3 dangers of online chatting that harm your kids if they aren’t careful.

TOP 3 risks of online communication

Serious danger of online chatting: Sexting

What it is?

Sexting is the sending, receiving or forwarding of pornography or pornographic messages via text message or email. Although the term “sext” appeared more than ten years ago, the concept of exchanging or storing sexually-related images or messages is not new.

How serious is it?

As the internet came into being, electronic devices and social media became tools to simplify and spread sexual materials easier and more powerful than ever. With just one click, a photo can be widely distributed to many others. And once this content has been spread, it will remain forever on the Internet, there is no way to permanently delete it.

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Some of negative effects of sexting on your child: those sexting messages and images will last forever. Teenagers sometimes believe that photos sent via text message, email or even on Snapchat will only be viewable by the recipient. But once sent, these images are completely out of the child’s control. They can be downloaded, copied, forwarded to others and reposted.

sexting-risk of online chat

At the moment when your child decides to send his or her nudity, your child can be blackmailed later. There have been many cases where the recipient of an image repeatedly threatened to embarrass the sender.

Sending pornography can have negative psychological effects on your child, especially if they are pressured to share pornography and feel ashamed of the act. If such photos are shared with others, sending sex messages could lead to more than just embarrassment. Your child’s social reputation – extremely important during his seventeen years and teenagers – can suffer irreversibly. And your child can be threatened online.

Is online chat safe? - What parents have to watch out

What parents should do?

  • If you want your child to trust you and share with you the things that make them uncomfortable or scared, or even the mistakes they make, you must be willing to listen and support them.
  • Explain your rules and expectations when you let your child use a cell phone, tablet or smartphone.
  • Talk and discuss with your child what should and should not be sent, posted, and shared with others
  • For an older child, you may want to have a deeper conversation about the risks, dangers, and legal problems of sending sex messages.

consequences of sexting

  • If you know that your child has sexting, use it as an opportunity to talk about sex, share your views and values, and help your child make the right decisions in the future.
  • Research has shown that exposure to pornography contributes to sexting behavior. When in a gender-curious age, your kids  become particularly curious and aroused by nudity. When they keep searching for things about nudity, sex, and everything related, their curiosity gets bigger and bigger.

So you may need to download porn blocker, detecting and hiding any pornographic image/video/ads across the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.

Is online chat safe? No, because your kids are at risk of Cyberbullying

What it is?

Cyberbullying is another form of bullying, using technology like the internet, emails, social media, smartphones, online game communities, etc. to deliberately repeat behaviors of using words or actions to hurt other’s feelings, making them feel bad, embarrassed which, in the long term, can lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm or even suicide.

How serious is it?

While 95% of teens are using smartphones, 87% of young people have seen cyberbullying occurring online, so there’s a higher risk of potential harm for your child. You may probably know Hana Kimura, a Japanese professional wrestler, has died at the age of 22.

She had been cyber-bullied. This somehow proves that the more the Internet develops, the more serious cyberbully becomes. Bullying happens everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, emails, etc.

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  Take these 6 advices and you will know how to talk to your daughter about sexting, successfully

Take GroupMe as an example. As GroupMe promotes group chat, other children can form “groups” and choose a member as an object (not excluding the possibility that this member is your child) to disdain, tease, make your children feel be boycotted or attacked.

If your child sends sensitive photos in an impulsive moment, with GroupMe’s feature that does not allow deleting messages, your child is very likely to be smeared, teased about his/her body through other social networks.

Cyberbullying is completely possible via video. For Messenger Kids, no matter who and when you know your child is calling, Messenger Kids doesn’t save a video chat. As a result, if your child being bullied online, you won’t be able to save the evidence.

cyberbullying-risk of online chat

What parents should do?

  • Start by talking with your child. You can initiate a conversation by telling a story that you were bullied as a child or about an example of cyberbullying that you heard on the news.
  • Prevention is always better than cure. When referring to online posting behavior, it’s important to limit the number of personal photos and information that your child posts. The best thing is only share with people who are close and trustworthy, or otherwise leave them private.

Sex-chatting

What it is?

Sex-chatting is the sharing of sexual images or materials between children and adults. Sexual chat can also be a first step towards child grooming, child pornography, or sexual coercion.

sex chatting in teens

That adult can be called as an online predator. Online predator is when an adult uses the Internet to take advantage of a child and/or young person for sexual or financial abuse. Sexual predators and other predators often stalk children on the Internet, taking advantage of their innocence, lack of adult supervision and abuse of their trust.

These predators lurk on social media: chat rooms, instant messaging, game platforms that appeal to children – virtual locations where anonymity facilitates “hunting.”

Some common forms of cyber-predation are the online predator sending illegal images, audio or video to children under an approved age. Or the predator entices the minor to engage in pornographic conversations. Or arrange to meet with a minor to commit sexual acts that are illegal, unlawful and unethical.

Sexual attackers on social media

How serious is it?

Studies show that today’s criminals find their victims very quickly because online chatting can be instantly obscene. Research, such as from the European Online Grooming Project, shows that online predators can turn conversations with children about pornography in chat rooms within two minutes.

Once the offender has started, they will do anything to keep the child under their control by threatening to send pornographic images/videos to the child’s friends and family unless the child continue to do as they ask.

protect kids from sex chatting

What parents should do?

  • Teach your kids how to behave appropriately on social media. Make sure your kids don’t add strangers as friends on social media and not sharing too much information about themselves.
  • Notice how your child interacts with technology: Does his or her behavior change when you enter the room? Did you suddenly switch screens or quickly shut down the computer?
  • Teach your child to think and think before posting or sharing information. Critical thinking is very important when exposed to new technology, the Internet and social media. Instead of automatically sharing, kids and adolescents need to pause and think twice.
  • What equally important is making sure your kids know they can always come and talk to you about whatever happens.
  • Wise modern parents are always proactive in bringing the best for their children. To better protect your child from all porn sites, for all internet-connected devices your child use, you should pre-order Wifi Device, becoming the first parents to own the solution which 24/7 protects your kids from harmful websites. Best prices are always available for early birds!

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