IRC can have a negative influence on you (especially if you are children) if you are not being careful of whom you are chatting with. Children’s safety is compromised when talking to a stranger and thus some risks are raised. The risks that can be resulted are shown below. What we have just seen are some possible risks that can be resulted from IRC. Let’s talk about some common problems children face while talking in IRC. First, Cyber-sex, children are often the victims of such sexually explicit conversation. It has been around for as long as the inception of IRC till today.
The problem has been escalating instead of dwindling. Cyber-sex is physically harmless when executed but it can mentally scar a child forever. Cyber-sex is often initiated by pedophiles who want some sexual satisfaction from children while on the internet. Children are often trusting by nature. When they trust someone they do not know on IRC, it can give the pedophiles the ability to literally reach into their home and grab them. All it takes is one lie. You see, these child molesters can pretend to be anybody they want.
They may even give gifts or a substantial amount of their time to the children to gain their trust and attention. Next, we look at cyber-crime. Sometimes online predators don’t just go for sexual gratification from children. They do harm to others’ computer for thrill sake. Children may get abused from constant email-bombing by abusers. These abuses get victims’ email in IRC. They may also send viruses or spyware to destroy or to steal critical information such as their parents’ credit card numbers on their victims’ computers.
Next, there is a danger that children will be introduced to illegal dugs, alcohol and smoking by the online predators. Children are curious little beings that will probably try to do things they never done before especially when promised by strangers that they will be enjoyable and fun. Next, children are often exposed to sexually explicit pictures obtained elsewhere. Sometimes, they are also exposed to pictures that contain demeaning, humiliating and insulting material to them.
Even a child needs respect. Lastly, IRC can be addictive and causes children to lose interest in their studies and thus perform badly in school. What are the preventive measures that parents can adopt to counter the first two problems mentioned above? First, parents need to have a constant check on their children over their internet activities. One of the most common measures parents can do is to look over their children’s shoulders to see what they are doing when they are online.
Second, if a child really has to meet the online stranger for some reason, it is very important to “make the first meeting in a public place, and be sure to accompany the child. ” (3) (Donna Rice, 1998). When a parent is around, the predator tends to get intimidated and thus will behave decently. Even if the stranger is decent and does not mean harm, it will still be good for parents to be present. Third, parents should always educate the child not to reveal identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number to strangers via IRC.
Additional information like e-mail, age, hobbies and financial information should also not be given away. Fourth, parents can install filtering software on the computer to block or keep out unwanted or unwelcome messages, emails, pictures and attachments from stranger. This filtering software can also block the children from surfing to the offensive or sexually explicit websites. Such software are especially helpful as it helps to keep the children at safe zones when the parents are not around. They act as the parents’ third eye.