Social Media and Skype

Understanding Social Media and Skype

In August 2003, Skype was launched by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. Today, over 300 million people use the chat program every single month. It’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and it’s also become a common tool in the work place.

Overall, Skype is very handy and makes calling people overseas a lot cheaper. As with any program that uses video and the internet though, Skype does come with its own risks, especially if children are accessing it.

What you need to know about Skype

  • Skype is a chat program that is completely free
  • Users can chat with contacts and make voice or video calls
  • You can add contacts to Skype if you know their email address or username

The main issue with Skype is that anyone can send you a contact request and since email addresses aren’t that difficult to find, you usually have a lot of predators targeting children. There is also a high risk of malicious files being sent via Skype that can contain malware or inappropriate content.

How to protect your child on Skype

Below are just a few ways that your child can safely enjoy chatting with friends and family on Skype:

  1. Help them add contacts. While older children might be able to do this on their own, if your younger child wants to start using Skype, rather help them add their contacts so that you can be sure they’re adding the right contacts.
  2. Lay down a few ground rules. Limit the amount of time your child gets to spend on Skype so that they aren’t logging in at all hours of the night or morning, which places them at greater risk.
  3. Chat to them about strangers. When kids first start using programs like Skype, not only will it take some time to learn how it works but it’s exciting to be able to chat to anyone, anywhere. It’s important to teach them about not accepting requests or calls from strangers at any time. If they’re unsure about the request, they should rather ask a parent or adult to double check it.
  4. Review privacy settings. When your child first gets setup on Skype, review their privacy settings to ensure that they’re as secure as possible.

If you’re looking for more information and tips that will help you keep your child safe online, visit www.saferschools.co.za