NetKids - Chat-Guide

Before you start visiting chat rooms in order to meet friends or to meet new people you should be wary of the following :

Never pass on information regarding your name, address, telephone number, which school you visit, passwords or other personal information. Please discuss exceptions with your parents or teachers.

Never answer notices in online dialog that contains words which you do not understand, seem strange to you or scare you. Should receive such a notice, print it out and show it to your parents or teachers. Please always tell your parents or teachers if you find something strange or if something scares you.

Never meet alone with someone for the first time if it is someone who you only know through the internet. Should you really want to meet these people it would be wise to take along your parents, older brothers or sisters or any grown up person at least for the first meeting. It is best to meet at a public place.

Never send a picture of yourself or of others per Email or Messenger. Also never put your picture in a profile. If you still should want to send a picture please make sure the picture only shows you and if possible is not to recent (Passport picture).

Should you receive pornographic images or anything else which you find disturbing, please discuss the matter with your parents or with a teacher.

Never visit a website that charges fees without having granted permission by your parents first. Also don't accept online invitations to other websites. These can result in getting caught up in an expensive Dialler.

Never fill in questionnaires that are sent to you by someone. It is often the case that these contain very personal questions that are no ones business. Answering these questions could also make it easier for this person to find you.

Never give bank details or credit card details when online - no matter where you are.

Always remember that you have no way of knowing for sure that the statements of someone with whom you chat are true or not - unlike with your real friends from school or a club. He or she will always - whether you like it or not - always remain a stranger on the net.

Chat-Guide for Teachers - the internet is a colourful wonderland that enables everyone to slip into a different role

It is very important to realise that the internet can be a very unreal world. This becomes most evident in Chats or messengers (AIM ICQ etc.). Claims can not be checked, sent Photographs do not always resemble the person you are talking to. Job, home town, sex... all can be made up. In a chat or messenger situation anyone can play a desired role that must not represent reality. It is important to remember this whilst engaging in the world of chat.

Key terms - in the following we will explain some vital key terms :

Screen - the same rule applies for both children and adults: Your screen (name) should bear no resemblance to your real name.

Profile/Business cards - if the provider allows you to create a personal profile it is best ignored. Not only will you fall victim to being filtered by other users, but also release personal information that should not be available to complete strangers.

Chatting - Chatting is basically a discussion with other users on the internet. Chatting usually occurs in provided Chat rooms or through messenger programmes (for this you require a "messenger" function. T-online, Yahoo, AOL and others offer this function free with their regular software).

In a chat room it is possible for a certain amount people to communicate simultaneously. You write short sentences in a field and send them into the chat room by pressing enter. All of the other visitors in this chat can read these sentences and reply. Such a situation would be impossible in real life as you would not be able to listen to 20 people at the same time. It is however possible in a chat room because you simply read what the 20 people wrote. There is another important difference between actual discussion and "Chatting": There is no way of knowing if claims made by another person are true or made up. It is therefore possible for every person to take on a different personality! Chat rooms for various interest groups are made available through providers,, TV channels or even toy manufacturers. Chat rooms can also be created by the users. These exist only for the duration of a chat and close only after the last participant leaves the room.

Messenger/ICQ/Telegram - a discussion via Messenger / ICQ / Telegram unlike with chat rooms is conducted between two people. It could be compared with a telephone discussion. To write a message in a telegram function a special window opens in which the message is to be typed. Combined with a chat room, this enables multiple conversation. The messenger function is added further depth by some providers enabling the additional usage of Webcams (internet cameras) or voice (communication like a phone conversation).

What you should be wary of :

- You should watch over children while they are using the internet

- You should know their registration password

- You should stay up to date

- You should be open to learn more about the internet / chat world

Chat-Guide for parents - Children on the internet - a host of unknown dangers

The continuing Press reports of the past few weeks regarding sexual violence inflicted on teenagers through the internet have moved us to discuss the matter openly on our homepage. Ms. Beate Schöning, Journalist and head of the Net Kids organisation ( has collected some shocking facts.

Whether it be at schools, at home, at friends or at an Internet Cafe, more and more kids are starting to use the internet. Most of the times this is done without parental guidance. Not only do the children do research for their homework, they also like to go into online chatting. All to easily, many of them fall victim to longing paedophile driven men and women.

On a daily basis, thousands of children and teenagers are verbally abused, receive unwanted pornographic images, are invited to meetings and given appointments for "Photo Shoots".

Unlike the past, where Paedophiles had to operate undercover, they can now express themselves freely on the internet. In kids chat rooms they can find the "human material" required to satisfy their vices.

Besides kids chat rooms, contact is also made via Email or through various messenger programmes (ICQ, AIM etc.). In most cases, the offenders find their victims through a filtered search using certain criteria. It is very difficult to estimate the exact amount of children abused on a daily bases on the internet. A rough estimate reckons that in could amount to many thousands. The offenders know no boundaries in their daily abuse of young victims.

There is little that the police of any other legal officials can do to put an end to this abuse. In many cases we are still lacking the appropriate laws. There is only a insignificant number of police officials (44 in Germany) conducting any proper internet research. Even if an offender is caught, the courts usually hand out a very insignificant punishment. The national German law is not properly equipped to deal with such cases. Even the proposed changes don't really cover the sexual threat on the internet. Up until now there is still no technical possibility to prevent the offenders from contacting their victims. Even filter programmes have been proven unsuccessful in this field.

Many chat victims have even been discovered even in Germany since 2000. In many cases complaints can not even be filed due to the laws inadequacies. In is also important to note, that even young males are amongst the victims.

The trading of picture and video child pornography has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. More and more offenders stop just being collectors and traders going in search of the real experience. In the last few years, many in "the scene" have started arranging meetings with the children already after the first contact.

Taking into consideration that the offenders have increased their abilities extremely over the last few years and that the victims are very unprotected, Net Kids views prevention as the only method available to rise against this problem. Parents and teachers who work with children on the internet need to be educated regarding prevention.

The internet is a colourful wonderland that enables everyone to slip into a different role.

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