You wouldn’t take your children into areas of the city that leave your skin crawling because they’re so unsafe, yet kids are venturing into these creepy neighborhoods online. If parents knew that their children were going to these unsafe, creepy online neighborhoods wouldn’t they try to prevent it? We teach our kids at a very young age not to talk to strangers, but many tweens and teens are going online to video chatrooms that encourage kids to talk with strangers such as Chatroulette or Chathopper via webcam. When I visited these websites to see what they were about I immediately saw adult material that no adult, yet alone a child should be exposed to.
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist said referring to Chatroulette, that “Parents should keep all children off the site because it’s much too dangerous for children.” These inappropriate websites are increasing in numbers so that now there are copy cats of some of the worst. Chatroulette, for example now has clones like Zupyo and Camcarousel and JayDoe.
Parents need to be involved and teach their children that rules (such as not talking to strangers) that they were taught at a young age off line, hold true online as well. The first step to preventing this behavior is for parents to know what their children are doing online, what sites they are visiting so that they will be able to intervene and teach their children about these fundamental rules of internet safety and appropriate behavior. Not all neighborhoods are OK to visit and not all websites are OK to visit. The use of webcams makes parenting online more important than ever.
Kids don’t always have the best judgment and don’t think about the consequences of their actions. That’s where parents need to come in and guide their children about what’s right and wrong, about what’s safe and what’s not safe. This parental guidance doesn’t stop when children go online. Parents need to know what websites their children are going to so they can teach about safety and appropriate behavior. Just as parents wouldn’t let their children watch inappropriately rated movies, they need to stop their children from going to creepy websites that encourage inappropriate behavior such as video chatting with strangers. Keep your kids out of these creepy neighborhoods! Parent online just as you do offline.