If someone obtains this information, it would be very easy for them to log back into the chatroom at another time under another name, and strike up a friendship ‘because we’ve got so much in common’.Particularly ensure that they don’t give out photographs of themselves to strangers, and just because they have received a photograph first, this does not mean that it is a photograph of the person that they are talking to.

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Developed from the system of the Poynter Institute) ● AUTHORITY: Is this a recognised expert, or a body with a known reputation?

● AFFILIATION: Is the site connected with a reputable person or organisation? Don’t feel you should use these criteria every time you check out a site; just be aware of the pitfalls.

Children will see these as a fun way to extend their social lives, without possibly recognising the dangers inherent.

Anyone can pretend to be anyone online – there are NO checks on this.

Rather than use a search engine which is designed for adult use, instead use a search engine that is designed for children.

Another good listing of appropriate search engines can be found from the Searchenginewatch site, and here is another list of student friendly search engines.Google search: “controlling access to the internet” children Click on the link to run the search.Google search “internet filtering software” Click on the link to run the search.In the UK Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence for a person to meet or travel to meet a child with the intention of committing a sex offence, if he has communicated with that child on at least two previous occasions. Encourage your children to chat sensibly in a chat room, and try and ensure that they do not give away personal details.These would include where they go to school, where they live, their email addresses, names of other family members and so on.This is basic safety advice that should apply to everyone, whatever their age.