​The following suggestions are offered as advice when communicating online via instant messaging or chat:

Protect yourself:

  • Tracing or identifying the person you are communicating with is extremely difficult
  • Not everyone is whom they may claim to be
  • Changing your identity is an easy process and strangers on-line may be difficult to recognise
  • The person may not reside or work where they indicate
  • Don’t jump to conclusions, base your conversations on fact
  • If in doubt about information provided by the other person, ask for further proof
  • Do your own research to corroborate what the other person is saying
  • Consider advising another person of your decision to meet with someone you have met online
  • Keep your computer in a family room, not in a bedroom, that way you can supervise its use and the conversations being conducted on it
  • Don't allow your child to submit personal information without your permission, or knowledge of why they are submitting it
  • Try to interact with your child while they are online - expressing an interest can be both informative, reassuring and educational to both you and the child
  • Encourage them to show you and tell you about anything that makes them uncomfortable whilst online
  • Familiarise yourself and talk to your child about who they contact on-line

Never allow your child to have an unsupervised meeting off-line with anyone they meet on-line.