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Many parents are surprised to discover that children as young as seven and eight years old are entering chat rooms or using the IM (instant messaging) feature on their computers. With preteens and teens, this is a common occurrence. Children no longer spend hours on the phone chatting with a friend. Instead, they can talk to any number of friends by visiting a chat room or instant messaging, and this is their preferred source of communicating.
Go over the following tips with your child to help her protect herself from online predators.
* Never give out any personal information, including a name, phone number, password, picture, address, and school name.
* Do not enter a chat room unless you have permission from your parents.
* Do not respond to instant messages from people you don't know.
* Never meet a person who has contacted you online without your parent along.