Many children use their webcams to create videos which they post to video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In these videos, children sing, dance, tell stories, share opinions, and show off other talents. While many are meant innocently, it is important that you talk to your children about what content you consider appropriate for posting online. For example, you may not want your children singing certain songs or using certain words. Make sure to review all videos before they are posted, and remind your children that their videos may be seen by a large audience. The videos may also be around for a long time; actions that seemed funny at age 14 may be embarrassing when they are adults applying for jobs.
Chatting Via Webcam
Video-streaming sites like Justin.tv or Skype can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. With a webcam, users can connect with each other and engage in real-time, live video chats. Many people use these services to stay in touch with family members and friends. Some video chat services allow the content to be recorded, so it’s important to teach children to be mindful of what they say and do while chatting via webcam. Encourage them to report any inappropriate actions by other webcam users to you or the website immediately.
Manipulation by Predators
Some predators try to take advantage of webcams’ capabilities in order to manipulate children. They may even send children webcams during the grooming process. While children may view the webcams simply as gifts, predators often use them to exploit children. They may start by making small, seemingly harmless suggestions, such as removing a shirt. If children comply, the suggestions may escalate to full nudity and sexual acts. If children stop cooperating, some predators will threaten to expose recordings they’ve made of the children’s previous actions in order to force them into complying.