What parents need to know about video chatting

If your children have access to a computer with a webcam and an internet connection, they can use video chatting through their social networking, instant messaging accounts or a program like Skype.  While video chatting adds a richer dimension to communication, it also requires a higher level of responsibility and maturity. 

Is your child ready to handle the responsibilities of video chatting?  Do you have the time and energy to monitor your child's use of video chatting?  Common Sense Media provides some helpful parenting tips on video chatting

Video chatting led to serious problems for 11-year-old "Jessi Slaughter" (her screen name). Using her computer's webcam, she posted videos which included inflammatory language, profanity and violent threats.  Her videos quickly spread across the internet leading to mean pranks and death threats.  According to the ABC News story on Jessi,
Jessi created an Internet firestorm when she posted a nearly five-minute video raging against online bullies who had called her names and accused a friend of raping her.
But her online rage, posted to Stickam, a video-sharing site, and uploaded on YouTube, only prompted more hatred, this time from more experience and vicious computer junkies.
No family wants to go through this horrible experience.  Before giving your children access to video chatting, make sure you and your children are ready to handle the increased responsibility. 

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