Can Video Chat Get You Into Trouble? What You Should Know Before You ‘Cam Up
Video chat or “camming” is one of the most popular forms of communication for teens. This generation finds texting, email, and phone calls “old school” ways to communicate. They simply turn on their web cams and talk to their friends.
While other people may find this type of communication fascinating or helpful, it is the teen set that uses video chat more than any other group. And it is because of this that parents must be cautious.
Predators are a Real Danger
Just like with every other new invention, there is always a bad point to the technology. Video chat may have made the Internet a more personable way to talk to your friends, but it has also opened up a new way for sexual predators to access your kids.
It is becoming more popular for these adults to access teen talk rooms and start to impose themselves. In 2012, a North Carolina man was arrested and charged for entering into a teen talk space and convincing a 14 year old girl to perform sexual acts for him while he downloaded the video to his computer hard drive. Upon arrest, it was found that this man had many such encounters downloaded on his computer.
A Case of Mistaken Identity Hurts
Aside from police stings, in rare cases, some adults are victims of underage individuals claiming to be adults. In this scenario, the young person presents themselves as 18 or older and participates in questionable or inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, the adult is not aware that they are engaging in, what could be considered, lewd behavior or internet solicitation. In situations where adults are charged with a crime such as this, it is advised to seek legal consultation. Criminal law attorneys, such as a firm like Powers McCartan PLLC or an online law service, often have experience in internet solicitation and may prove to be helpful in this unfortunate situation.
Though it can be very difficult to determine the proper age of the internet user you are video chatting with, it is always a good idea to go with your instinct. If something or someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. In addition, refraining from sexual behavior or conversation may be the best course of action if you do not want this incident to come back to haunt you.
Your Teen Needs to Be Aware
A parent has to be rational about online chat sites. They need to inform their teen that while this may be fun to do with their friends, it is not safe to do with strangers. Of course, the instant reply will be “how can I meet anyone then?” and you will have to reply that they must use their common sense. Let them know that any adult that is accessing teen sites or makes contact with them first is a danger – period.
Make it clear to your teen that it is not cool or acceptable for them to take up a friendship with another adult. Let them know that it does not make them a gown-up to interact with adults that they do not know. It is a good idea to stress how you will not tolerate this type of behavior.
Explain to your kids the potential for harm that could come from interacting with these predators. Explain to them that it is okay to make teen friends if they are a teen, but adults should be left to other adults. Discuss what has happened to other teens that have opted to go ahead and make friends with these online predator adults.
As a parent, you must come to terms that the Internet Age is upon us and that with this age come many new technologies and dangers. The days of teens sitting on a phone for hours at a time are gone. Video chat or camming is the new thing. You need to embrace these changes and prepare your teen to be safe on the Internet. Give them the knowledge they need to make good choices, and make sure they know what to do if approached by a predator online.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and parent to 3 video chatting teenagers. She contributes this article to advocate internet safety for teens and to equip parents to protect their children from online predators. Powers McCartan PLLC is a North Carolina law firm, dedicated to providing peace of mind to individuals negatively impacted by internet solicitation.
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