Skype, FaceTime, Google + and Facebook all have video chat options. It’s important to know that these are designed for adult use. Children need to be protected from internet fraud when using these apps. Danger is lurking as we see children under the age of two who have quickly learned to swipe the face of tablets and phones to gain access.
Vigilance in using and checking the privacy settings on all devices that a child will have access to is the first step. Young children should never use a video chat app without supervision. Discussion with the child about internet safety is also crucial. Accepting a calls from someone not in the child’s contact list can be dangerous – predators often mask as friends. Parents must discuss the importance of never accepting calls from anyone the child does not know. Consider visiting the FBI Online Safety site with your child – click here: https://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety.
Skype’s provides this warning and good advice on their website:
Skype’s websites and software are not intended for or designed to attract users under the age of 13. We encourage parents to be involved in the online activities of their children to make sure that no information is collected from a child without parental permission.
We take the safety of Skype end users very seriously and have security measures in place to help protect children, who have appropriate parental permissions to use Skype, from being contacted by strangers. These include:
- Only allowing people in the child’s contact list to contact the child using Skype, including voice and video calls, chat messages and sharing screens.
- Hiding the age, date of birth and gender of children on profile pages, so others cannot see this information.
- Hiding children from search results unless they are returned as an exact match by Skype Name or email.
Important: Our security measures are based on the date of birth provided by the end user when creating a profile, so it is very important to enter the correct information.
FaceTime recommends parents use Settings to turn off the option to use FaceTime and turn it on when a parent is present. For older children who know how to get to the settings you may want to consider a password to protect the device.
Consider a program like Skypito for younger children – click here for more information:
The Intel Security Company also has a guide for keeping video chats safe – click here: https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/parents-to-know-video-chat
If safely used video chatting is great for kids. They can stay in contact with a parent who is not home, call grandparents, do homework, and be with friends. Share some of the ways that you keep your children safe online – firstname.lastname@example.org
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