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Rajiv Singha

Chat Room Dangers that Kids and Teens are exposed to

July 15, 2013
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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Chat rooms can be a great online space to hang out for kids and especially teens who share similar interests, thoughts or experiences. But at the same time, the same place can be a dark and dingy alley infested with online predators. This post gives you an insight into some of the most common dangers of online chat rooms that kids and teens are exposed to, and some tips for parents.

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The Dangers of Online Chat Rooms
Remember the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Remember who she thought to be her grandma, turned out to be the Big Bad Wolf? Chat rooms are no less different from this story. In chat rooms, there is a wall between the people who are chatting and getting acquainted with each other. And this is where the danger lurks.

Who is your Stranger Chat Buddy?
How well does a kid or teen know about their chat buddy? Are they their classmate, someone from their school or college, or neighborhood? Or, are they a complete stranger offering friendship by pretending to have a “listening ear” and “caring heart”? Such actions of online predators to strike an emotional chord with a child, is usually termed as child grooming.

A lonely child, who is having a hard time at school or even at home, may easily find solace in sharing their feelings with someone who “seems” to care and understand them. And most of the time, such “kind and sympathetic” strangers turn out to be pedophiles, drug dealers, cyber criminals, and online stalkers, putting up in some dark and dingy corner of the town and waiting to get some fresh prey to fall into their trap.

Malware Attack
It is not necessary that every stranger someone meets in a chat room is a sexual predator. The world is not such a bad place. There are good strangers too; strangers who do innocent, clean, happy and funny talking. And when such a stranger begins to look like an oh-my-god-he-is-such-a-darling kind of person, the victim clicks on a link forwarded by them and boom! The next thing that might pop up is a black-blue-and-red flashy thing on the computer. Could that be a virus attack? What happened there? Looks like the darling friend gave the victim a malware in gift! So, some strangers can do better than being sexual offenders you see.

Social Aloofness
Social platforms such as chat rooms can be dangerously addictive. They can not only hamper a student’s academic life, but may also push them into a world of social aloofness. Eventually, such kids or teens may detach themselves from the real world.

Some Tips for Parents

  1. Place the computer in the living room, instead of your child’s bedroom. Sometimes your mere presence is good enough to keep them going to the bad places online.
  2. Get involved in constructive online activities with your child. Know what their favorite sites are and share your favorite ones with them.
  3. Educate your children about the dangers of revealing personal information (of any kind) on the internet.
  4. Never let your child meet someone they have just met online. But, if you can’t help the situation, then either tag along or ask your child to bring along some of their friends. And make sure they meet in a public place.
  5. Look out for any abnormal behavioral changes in your child, towards you or their social environment. Research says, online predators often try to turn kids and teens against their parents, teachers, and friends.
  6. Utilize a reliable parental control tool. You can use such tools to monitor your child’s online activities and filter inappropriate websites.
  7. As discussed, chat rooms are one of the many mediums hackers use, to drop malware in a victim’s computer. So, it is imperative that you keep your machine and its security software up-to-date.

Making children aware about the dangers of the Internet is easier said than done. It is a continuous process that requires your constant effort. Merely putting restrictions won’t help; understanding your child’s needs, interest, and curiosity is also crucial.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Rajiv Singha
About Rajiv Singha
Rajiv is an IT security news junkie and a computer security blogger at Quick Heal. He is passionate about promoting cybersecurity awareness, content and digital...
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12 Comments

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  1. Hrushi SonarJuly 15, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Good info Rajib sir.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Hrushi Sonar.

    Reply
  2. Rahul Haldar (RH)July 17, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Dear Users, User Quick Heal Total Security 2013. And Use Sandbox, With Green Border Surrounded The Browser. Make The Security Level To Highest. You Will Be Safe Always.

    Note: Sandbox Will Not Allow You To Make Changes Like, Automatic Update, To Update Browser Automatically, You Need To Disable Sandbox.

    Reply
    • Hi Rahul,

      Thank you for showing interest in Quick Heal products. What you have said is true. In the sandbox mode, browser update will not take place, since the update process itself may get sandboxed and will not get applied to the real browser installation on the system. Therefore, if we want to apply any browser update, the sandbox feature must be turned OFF first.

      Regards,

      Reply
      • Rahul Haldar (RH)July 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        Dear Rajib Sir,

        Thank You For The Comment. Sir, I Am Using Quick Heal Total Security Since 2008. The Last Release Of Total Security 2013 Has The New Feature Sandbox. I Am Using XP Server Pack 2. And I Use Web Browser Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox And Google Chrome. Mozilla Firefox Is The One Browser That Launches Its Update Every Month. And Here I Have A Problem With Sandbox. When The Sandbox Is Turned On. I Got The Update. Firefox Gets Its Automatic Update But It Doesn’t Get Effect. I Mean, It Shows Error Message. I Have To Download The Setup From Mozilla Then Have To Reinstall It With The New Release. I Even Took Assistance From Quick Heal Live Chat Service They Told Me That Sandbox When Turned On / Enabled, I Cannot Change Anything On My Browser. I Have To Turn Off The Sandbox To Make It Effective. Anyways, What I Have Done Is That, I Have Downloaded The Latest Version Of Web Browser That I Use And I Have Turned The Automatic Update Off. And Have Turned The Sandbox On And Made The Security Level To The Highest. Now, I Have No Issue Using Quick Heal Sandbox At All, Its Working Fit & Fine. Though It Is Recommended To Keep The Automatic Update Turn On. But I Have NO Worry Now, Because I Have Sandbox Now.

        Reply
      • Rahul Haldar (RH)July 20, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        Dear Rajib Sir,

        Please Do Confirm Me. Need Your Confirmation. I Am Currently Using Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox And Google Chrome The Three Web Browsers That Supports Quick Heal Total Security Sandbox. And I Never Go To Any Bad Or Porn Sites, And I Have Even Turned The Parental Control On To Its Default Mode So Automatically From Adult To Fashion, From Porn To Hacking, All Sites Got Blocked. The Four Main Websites That I Visit Frequently Are http://www.gaana.com http://www.facebook.com http://www.howzat.com and http://www.xat.com. So The Confirmation That I Need From You Is, I Have Disabled The Auto Update Of The Said Web Browsers And Use It With Sandbox On To The Height Level Of Security that is STRICT. Now Using Web Browser With Disabled Auto Update In Sandbox Environment In Highest Level Of Security (STRICT)Without Visiting To Any Bad Sites, I Hope It Will Not Give Any Trouble To My PC. My PC Will Be Fit And Fine As Long As Quick Heal Total Security Is Installed?? I Just Want To Know This 🙂

        Regards

        Reply
        • Hi Rahul,

          As you have mentioned in your comment, you take precautions while browsing the Internet. In addition to that, you have Quick Heal Total Security in your PC, which offers web protection features such as Parental Control and Sandbox, among others. Considering all these points, your PC is in a protected environment.

          Speaking of the automatic browser update – if you wish to update your browser, turn OFF the Sandbox mode, manually update your browser, and turn ON the Sandbox mode again. In this way, your browser will remain updated, and at the same time, Sandbox protection will be always ON.

          Regards,

          Reply
          • Rahul Haldar (RH)July 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

            Dear Rajib Sir,

            Thank You Profusely For The Reply. Keep Updating Us With The Latest Threats In The Cyber World.

            Warm Regards

  3. thanks for kind information.

    Reply
  4. Joy RuskinJuly 17, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Very nice & useful post…

    Reply
  5. thank you sir.
    it was a very good article ,i think such awareness is necessary now a days .Particularly at this stage of communication revolution in INDIA , where everyone gets internet access easily through mobiles.So this awareness is MUST for everybody.

    Reply
  6. Susil SarkarJuly 19, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Hi Rajiv ji,
    I’m using Quick Heal Internet Security 2012 for last one year. now its expired and I’ve purchased a renewal key also. but I recently noticed that there is a new version of Quick Heal, that is 2013. I dont renew my licence till now, because I want to install the new version of Quick heal. But I dont know can I used that version with my 2012 renewal key? And where can I downnload the new version? I want some help regarding this issue… Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Susil,

      Yes, you can upgrade to the 2013 version of Quick Heal Internet Security using the 2012 renewal key. Kindly follow these instructions:

      1. If Quick Heal Internet Security 2012 is still in your system, then first renew the product using the renewal key. Once it has been renewed, follow this link and download the “upgrade 2013 for Quick Heal Internet Security 2012“.

      2. If Quick Heal Internet Security 2012 has been uninstalled from your system, then download it first from Quick Heal’s website using the old product key. And during registering the product, provide the renewal key.

      Kindly contact our support at 0-927-22-33-000, if you should require any additional help.

      Regards,

      Reply