July 7, 2006, Newsletter Issue #23: Family chat rooms

Tip of the Week

Unless you are part of a private, closed system and know every single person who might chat on that system, there is no such thing as a "family," i.e., 100% safe, chat room. Most chat rooms, even those oriented toward children, will be PG-rated at best, and many are far more adult-oriented than you'd expect. This is not a reason to avoid family oriented chat rooms. If you're a parent, check out several chat services to get a feel for them so you can make smart decisions for yourself and for your family. Some chat services offer word filtering, but a little creative wordsmithing makes these filters fairly seless. Look for chat services that offer some sort of monitoring and tools for parental controls. If your kids are chatting, be very clear with them regarding the dangers of sharing personal information online. Family chat rooms can be very rewarding for everyone - a little common sense on your part will keep them that way.

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