Below is a blog from our friends at Safe Eyes. They provide a great filter for the computer and your Iphone as well.
One of the most confusing areas of Internet Safety for parents has to be online predators.
On the one hand, Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, says that the notion that children are in danger from Internet predators is “discredited” and called solicitations from people known only through the Internet “rare.”
On the other side of the debate is just about every police precinct in the country that is ramping up efforts to catch Internet predators, and of course the hundreds of predators caught on “To Catch a Predator.”
Parents are receiving two completely contrasting messages from two trustworthy sources: child online safety groups, who obviously want to keep children safe, and police, who of course are only interested in fighting actual crime.
I decided to do my own research by seeking out a chat room, creating a profile, and seeing what I got. Frankly, it was sickening and I invite all concerned parents to do this for themselves.
1. Google “chat room” and click on the first organic result (if you have Safe Eyes on you will need to disable it to access the site)
2. Click on “Kids Chat” and create a profile
3. Wait and watch
Everyone’s experience will probably be a little different, but this was mine:
* I immediately saw a post asking girls if they wanted to be webcam models (keep in mind this is “Kid’s Chat” so they are not looking for women of legal age)
* I received several (at least 4) invitations to personal chats within the first minute I was in the chat room, one of whom claimed to be a 23 year old male (my screen name told that I was 14 and female). Invitations kept coming the entire time I was in the chat.
* I was asked to trade pics by a male poster
* I was asked what color underwear I was wearing
Not everyone I encountered claimed to be older, but from the chat there was absolutely no way of knowing if anyone in the chat room was giving accurate information. The topics, if they could be called that as there was practically no discussion at all, were 100% sexual. Whether or not the room was filled with “DOM” (Dirty old men in chat parlance), despite it being a chat room intended for kids, the content was not only sexual, but mostly posted with the intent of furthering the contact outside of the chat room.
Please do not take my word on this. To really experience what chat rooms are all about try this out for yourself.