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Keep your Kids Safe Online   

Step 5: Monitor Instant Messages
If there's one thing teens love more than MTV, it's instant messaging, either in online chat rooms or via IM clients such as ICQ and Yahoo Messenger. Either way, a little parental intervention is essential.

Start by telling your kids not to give out personal information, even when they're in chat rooms with friends. It's also a good idea to review their user profiles, as certain words and information can attract online predators. Try to keep the profile as nondescript as possible. Hobbies and interests are OK, but don't specify age or sex.

While chat rooms are more or less guaranteed to involve strangers, instant messaging should never be anonymous. All the major chat clients let you block messages from unknown users.

Yahoo Messenger's Ignore List

Yahoo Messenger's Ignore List lets you keep strangers from sending instant messages to your child.
To block unknown users in AOL Instant Messenger, follow these steps.

  • Press F7.
  • Click Privacy.
  • Select "Allow only users on my Buddy List."

To block unknown users in ICQ, follow these directions.

  • Click Main > Security & Privacy Permissions > Spam Control.
  • Enable "Accept messages only from users on my Contact List."

Here's how to block unknown users in MSN Messenger.

  • Click Tools > Options > Privacy.
  • Enable "Only people on my Allow List can see my status and send me messages."

To block unknown users in Yahoo Messenger, follow these steps.

  • Click Messenger > Preferences > Ignore List.
  • Enable "Ignore anyone who is not on my Messenger List."




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