Chat Safety - It starts with you!
Is this your first time chatting? Well below are a few rules to follow to keep safe when chatting:
1) Age Requirements - Users should be over the age of 13. Minors should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Room age requirements MUST be followed. Those violating this rule will be booted and reported to the proper authorities.
2) Be careful - people online may not be who they say they are no matter how convincing they may sound. The reality is that online friends are really just strangers.
3) Do NOT give out any personal information (i.e where you live, your school, email address, picture, telephone number, etc) - you may end up being contacted by people you don't want. Make sure your profile in the forums or chat does not include any personal information.
4) Never arrange to meet someone offline, this can be very dangerous. If you must, then go accompanied (if you are under 18 by your parent or carer); and meet in a public place.
5) Report to a moderator or Admin if someone or something makes you worried or uncomfortable at this site.
Parents must take responsibility for their childs online computer usage. Try to find out what internet services (such as chatting and email) your child uses. Consider surfing with your children and make it a fun experience for them. This will be a constructive way to spend more time with your children.
Long periods of computer monitor use can impact the health of your eyes. Due to the fact that your eyes are constantly adjusted to a particular focus, it is important to regularly utilize the full focal range of your eyes by focusing on a number of far away and close items. Preferably use: a larger computer monitor screen size with optimized contrast and brightness settings; fonts which are of a comfortable reading size; a monitor which does not have a low refresh rate or that interlaces; a screen which has little or no glare; a well lit room. Failure to do so may result in eye strain, blurred vision, head aches and other short or long term ailments.
Due to the heavy use of keyboard and mouse input and long durations of sitting, we advise members to have an ergonomically correct environment and a regular physical activity interval. Your desk, chair, keyboard, mouse and wrist pads should be carefully selected to provide maximum comfort and protection against injury. Failure to do so may result in back, neck, wrist and arm short and long term pain and / or damage. Employ a routine of frequent breaks which involve a small, quick but frequent combination of physical activities such as: standing up, stretching, walking around the room or building, clenching a mug or cup, elevating arms above head repetitively, and taking deep controlled breaths.
With the web providing an increased number of social communication tools (email, SMS, chat rooms, instant messaging) for users, there has been an increase in the number of users who are using these tools to antagonize or intimidate others. This usually happens to younger people. Because bullies commonly harrass their victims away from the watchful eyes of adults or guardians, the Internet is the perfect place for them to reach others anonymously. For many younger users, home is no longer a place of refuge from school bullying. Users should be aware that some forms of online bullying are considered criminal acts. It is illegal to communicate repeatedly with someone if your communication will cause any fear for the safety of the person you are communicating with or the safety of others. If you feel you are being bullied, please report any incidents to your local police or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) who can then investigate the issue further.
It is important for users to be aware that too much time spent in chat rooms is not good. It is important to maintain a healthy balance between online and offline life. Internet addiction is usually identified by events including, but not limited to, the following: sense of euphoria while at the computer, problems with school or work, feeling empty or depressed when away from the computer, and neglecting family and friends. Internet addiction can also lead to physical problems such as eyestrain, backaches, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Take a break, once in a while!
Please remember that chat room safety starts with you.
Take a look at this nice cartoon depicting two online chatters. Please be careful.