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Teens and chat rooms, do you know the dangers?

With the advances in technology, there have developed more and more ways for people to communicate with each other. Most teenagers are very tech savvy; they can find just about anything they need on the internet, link their mobiles to their Facebook page, download apps for all occasions and in a lot of cases, build their own websites and write their own blogs. Parents need to catch up with this technology, to be sure that they know what their teenager is doing in cyber space.

Almost every teen web site has some sort of way to communicate, some are a lot less secure than others, and teenagers who are so technologically smart, can be ridiculously na´ve when it comes to areas like chat rooms. A chat room is pedophile paradise, all those children, innocently telling the world what they have been up to, posting photos and talking about plenty of local landmarks that identify, at the very least, their general location.

Add in these teenagers' personal websites where their details are even more accessible, and all the ingredients for grooming a young person with the intention of causing harm are laid out before the predatory adult. Teenagers who display a lack of self confidence by describing themselves as ordinary, or plain, are instant targets for these adult stalkers; they will cultivate a friendship with teenagers who have a poor self image and are most likely to be flattered by praise and encouragement.

Parents of teenagers who spend any time on the internet need to be very clear as to what sites their teen is visiting. Parental controls need to be set to filter out any sites without safety protocols, and should close the internet down after a certain time in the evening, when a teen should be asleep or the household has gone to bed and parents cannot monitor what the teen is doing. If the teenager has a website, parents need to see it, this may be an invasion of privacy, but teenagers are notoriously reckless on their own websites and can project an image that is likely to be misinterpreted, not just by adult predators, but by other teens at high school.

Chat room safety is a lesson that needs to be drummed into teens at an early age, do not leave it up to the school to deliver the message. If necessary, scare the heck out of the teen with horror stories of teenagers being groomed, abducted, harmed, and even killed, after contact through a chat room. This is not the time to be squeamish or soft about warning your teenager; the internet is the kind of medium that practiced predators will patiently use to wear down a teenagers resistance, until the teen loses all common sense and perspective. The lessons the teenager learns about internet safety will apply in many areas of their lives; the advantage the parent has in this area, is the ability to switch the bad influence off, with a push of a button!

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