Picture your favorite person in the world. It could be your spouse, your child, a parent, or a family friend. If you could speak with this person right now, would you prefer a phone conversation or an in-person one?
Of course you'd rather see their face, their expressions, and their gestures. A phone call just doesn't compare. That's why almost 2 in 5 teens have used Skype, iChat, or GoogleTalk to video chat with others.
If your teen regularly uses a service like Skype, or if he has a social networking account (most social networks have video chatting capabilities on-site), teach them these Internet safety rules for video chatting online.
Don't do or say anything you'll later regret or wouldn't want made public; any conversation could be downloaded and saved.
Only chat with people you really know. Some Facebook “friends” aren't really people you know, and some web apps randomly match you with a stranger to chat with.
If you are bullied via video chat, block the bully and tell someone about it. Video bullying happens.
Immediately close the chat and report it if someone is doing or saying inappropriate things to you.
Don't accept chat requests from non-friends.
Use a secure password for your video chat account that's hard for others to guess. Then keep it to yourself.
Leave personal details out of your video chat profile, since some profiles are public. Know how to make your profile private using your privacy settings.
If possible, keep an eye on your child's video chats. Notice that I didn't say eavesdrop – stay far away enough to give your child some privacy, but pass through the room every once in a while just to let them know you're there.
-Article contributed by Jenny Evans
[THIS BLOG ARTICLE UPDATED ON 5/16/2019]