Things To Know – What You Should Know About Chatting On The Internet

Children Around The World Use The Internet To

  • read exciting articles
  • learn new things
  • Read children’s news
  • talk with other kids

Whenever you use the Internet, however, there are some safety precautions you should be aware of. You can read more about them below. Because today we want to talk about chatting on the Internet. Do you know what chatting means? When you log on to a website to exchange information with other children, this is called chatting. You can find out more about chatting for kids in the article “Chatting for kids and teens.” There you can read which German-language kids are particularly suitable for children.

Chatiquette – What Does That Mean?

Every chat has its own rules of conduct. The Chatiquette regulates what is allowed and what is not allowed in the chat. The Chatiquette (pronounced: “Tschätikette”) is therefore something similar to house rules.

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Mostly these house rules are about the following things:

  • Legal: what laws do you have to follow when you chat?
  • Security: What do you have to consider for your own security?
  • Technique: What are the special requirements for this chat?
  • Readability: How many smileys are you allowed to use? What else should you consider when writing a message? Things that are undesirable in chat because they make it confusing.
  • Contacts: Insults and abuse are not allowed in any chat.

In any case, you should read the chatiquette carefully when you sign up for a new chat. If you do not follow the rules, you may be banned. Then you could never enter the chat again. Also, many chatters find it unfriendly if you don’t follow the rules (even if you just don’t know them yet). Therefore, you should always be well informed about such things.

Safety Tips For Chatting

The problem with chatting is that you cannot see the person you are chatting with. So you never know who is really behind it. To be on the safe side, it’s best to follow these tips:

  • Chat with your parents at first. They can explain how it works and what you should watch out for.
  • Choose a neutral name. Never use your real name! Also, do not include your place of residence in your name. Nicknames are commonly used for chats. These are funny nicknames such as “Knusperkeks” or “BayernFan”.
  • Do not give out any personal data such as your address, name or telephone number – not even in the children’s chat!
  • Your access data, such as passwords, are private! Do not reveal them to anyone.
  • If someone asks you to do something strange, don’t do it. Prompts that give you a strange feeling are usually not safe.
  • Agreeing to meet someone from chat is rarely a good idea. Never meet an Internet acquaintance alone!
  • If someone annoys you or writes strange things, contact a moderator.
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Instant Messaging

Some services, such as ICQ or MSN, require you to download a program before you can start chatting. These chats are called instant messegers. Ask an adult for help with this. Also, when chatting via instant messaging, follow the safety tips you’ve already read. There are also some special rules that apply to instant messaging:

  • Take a look at the program’s security settings with your parents. Maybe make some changes to better protect yourself from unwanted messages and their consequences (status display, save message history automatically, disable webcam).
  • Accept messages only from friends who are in your contact list.
  • If you want to add someone new to your contact list, get your parents’ permission.
  • Turn off public status announcements.
  • If someone sends you files, don’t accept them right away. Ask what they are first. Some files may contain harmful computer viruses. A computer virus can cause your PC to stop working properly. Sometimes even personal data is transferred to others if the PC has a virus.
  • Make sure that the program is always up to date. This way it will not happen so easily that you catch a computer virus.
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Worksheet For The Text

1) Explain the difficult words in the text

What does…

  • chat
  • Chatiquette
  • Instant messaging
  • Nickname
  • Computer virus

2) Find a children’s chat on the Internet and describe its advantages and disadvantages. Also explain how to sign up there.

3) What did you remember from this article? Write down your thoughts here.

4) Have you ever used an instant messager? Think about whether you followed all the rules for instant messaging when you did.

Photo: kikkerdirk /

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