Parents and carers should become familiar with the Lycos Chat. Read our terms and conditions, help guides and make sure you know how to report any issues your child may experience.
Ask your child to show you around the Lycos Chat. Ask them what they do on the Chat, and how the entire product works. This will help you understand your child's habits and enable you to assess how well they understand the potential issues associated with using the service.
It is important that your child registers their correct age to ensure that the safety protection tools provided for under 16/18's are applied to them and get the best content and experience. Remind them that lying about their age puts them at risk and would mean we cannot protect them as we would like.
Visit the Lycos Chat regularly and familiarise yourself with the services we offer, such as creating a profile, uploading images, making friends etc..
Remind your child to review their contact list on a regular basis to make sure they still want each person on it.
Negotiate with your child to visit and view their personal profile.
If you are concerned about your child's use of Lycos Chat contact a Navigator who can advise you on the best way to deal with it.
Children and young people have strong views about their privacy and it will be important for you to help your child to use the Lycos Chat responsibly and safely.
There is an important balance between educating children and young people about the risks online, viewing what they are doing and actually trusting them in their use of the Chat, and allowing them a degree of autonomy. You are the best judge of how much autonomy you wish to give and this would be dependent on your child's age and maturity.
It is critical that children and young people understand the importance of protecting their privacy online. Make sure they know about the Ignore feature, never giving out personal information like email addresses, mobile phone numbers, home addresses and although you may not have thought about it, the name of their school. Their school is a key identifier for a predator.
It is important that children and young people think carefully about adding a stranger to their "friends list" even if another friend has recommended them - people are not always who they claim to be.
Talk to your child about the importance of keeping their password to their Lycos Chat account private to protect against someone taking control of their ChatNick.
Ensure that your child is aware of the privacy setting options in their Photo Album. It is important that you negotiate with your child the appropriate level of privacy and that it matches their level of emotional maturity and understanding.
Advise your child of the potential risks in sharing any information that may help locate them in the real Chat, for example, whether any images have a precise place name. Also school uniforms give a lot away.
The use and sharing of images has exploded online especially on social networking sites.
It is very important that children and young people consider and choose carefully what they share online with friends and the wider community on the Chat, especially as photos can be easily copied and changed.
Photos can contain information, which, on its own may seem innocuous, but when put together with other information (e.g. school details) can be used to locate and identify the child.
Photos should be suitable i.e. not provocative, so as not to attract unwanted attention from adults who may wish to exploit children and young people.
The Lycos Chat does not allow "inappropriate" images and will remove them when they are brought to our attention.
Check with your child whether they are comfortable with the content they are posting being seen by everyone they know and whether it might embarrass them at a later stage.
Many youngsters go to great lengths building their Profiles and PortHoles so receiving comments from the wider community can be exciting, compelling and is expected.
It is important that children and young people understand the need to be responsible in what they post and contribute to other people's comment areas - "think before you post" is a good maxim.
There have been some incidents of bullying often amongst known friends on Social Networking sites - whereby bullying in the playground has continued and possibly escalated online. The potential to humiliate and harass individuals through comments and posting images can be extremely hurtful and have a number of unintended consequences, such as spreading very quickly to a much larger audience online. It is important for parents to set rules with their children about what is OK and what is not OK to post on the Lycos Chat about anyone known or unknown.
Emphasise to your child that once a comment or a posting is made it may not be possible to retract it.
It is important that parents discuss and establish boundaries about flirting online with your child from an early age e.g. when your child begins to show an interest in and is beginning to use interactive services.
Teens may engage in flirting or sexual exploration online and it is important to discuss the need for boundaries in relationships even with known boyfriends and girlfriends.
Parents and guardians should discuss, and emphasise, particularly with older teens, the dangers of flirting with strangers online. As some people lie about who they really are, no one really knows who they are interacting with.
Meeting "online friends" who may be strangers in the real Chat is not new or particular to sites like ours. Children and young people often assume that those people they have spent time interacting with online are real friends and therefore safe to meet. However, as with all meetings with strangers there may be risks and great caution should be applied.
It is important for children and young people to think very carefully before agreeing to meet anyone they have met online and agree any such meetings with their parents or carers in advance.
Parents should ensure that any meetings with "online friends" takes place in public and with trusted friends or adults present.
It is critical for parents and carers to maintain an ongoing dialogue and have regular conversations with their children about anything that is worrying them or has happened online.
If you suspect that your child or another child is being solicited online or is being "groomed" by someone with a sexual interest in children it is important to report it immediately to a Navigator who can take action.
If you have any copies of communications, images, messages or other content related to the solicitation of a child it is important to keep them and pass them to either a Navigator or direct to the Police.
Make sure your child knows how to do a print screen so that they can provide evidence of this behaviour.
It is very important that both you and your child understands how to report anything that might be inappropriate or illegal either to us, law enforcement or other designated agency.
There are now a number of places to report potential illegal behaviour online, for example, in the UK the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) (www.ceop.org.uk), in the US the NCMEC Cybertipline (www.cybertipline.com)
Many children and young people have a profile on Lycos Chat. The Chat can be a lot of fun, and can be a great place to share your interests, communicate with friends and learn new skills in using technologies. However, as in the real world, it is important that you take care of yourself, your friends and the wider community.
The Lycos Chat is a great place to connect with friends you know in the real world as well as meet new people. Interacting with friends is pretty safe, however interacting with "friends of friends" and even "friends of friends of friends" may mean that you are providing information to the sorts of people you would not necessarily be so open within the real world. Therefore you should consider the following;
Also think about the following:
One of the best things about the Lycos Chat is the ability to "load up" your content online, for example uploading images to experience other people?s reactions to it. It is also very exciting to access and comment on others people?s pictures. However, there are some basic things you should consider before "loading up".
The Lycos Chat thrives on interactions that are interesting, funny and witty. It is important to contribute in engaging and relevant ways. Your images, conversations and comments that you share with others help to shape the online community and ultimately, can make it and all of its neighbourhoods a great place to "hang out".
There are some basic points which will demonstrate your respect for the community as follows;
If problems or difficulties arise within the community use the available tools to ignore, or report inappropriate behaviours or content to a Navigator.
Our help section has links to sources of expert help and advice (both online and offline), confidential help lines or support services.
On occasions the behaviour you experience online may require contacting the police directly. If you or another young person are in immediate danger and you require an urgent response, you must call 999 or your local police.
Speak to a Navigator, trusted adult or friend if you are unsure about anything. It is always good to seek advice when you are unsure.