Kids and the dangers of web cams

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Kids and the dangers of web cams

What parents need to know about webcams is first of all that they're installed on any computer that was bought in the last 5 years. And while web cams are great tools for business conference calls or keeping in touch with a family member that lives far away, it's important to know that a web cam is direct access into your child's bedroom, if indeed that's where the child's computer is. And that that can be recorded. It's important that parents be aware and understand if their child is spending time on video chatting sites, because video chatting sites specifically Chat Roulette, Stick 'Em, and there's a number of them, are known by law enforcement officials to be a haven for sexual predators that are there specifically waiting for your child, wanting to engage with them, and coerce them and incent them to ultimately undress. All the while the sexual predator is filming them There's even a game called jail bait that rewards kids and teens for undressing. Unfortunately then there's something called sextortion. These predators specifically target your child. They get them to engage. They coerce them into these live video feeds where they're undressing or engaged in sexual acts. They then come back to your child and say, hey, I'm going to tell your parents, or I'm going to spread this all around, put it up on the internet if you don't do it again. Sadly all the while these video streams are being uploaded to pornography sites. So I recommend number one, if it comes to your child's computer, if it can't be in a central location on the kitchen table, make sure it's not used behind a closed door, and make sure it's not used in your child's bedroom. I also encourage you to have a no video chatting site policy. If your child isn't aware of Chat Roulette or Stick 'Em, they don't need to necessarily know the names. They just need to know the policy. Just say, hey, here are the safety reasons why our family isn't going to use a video chatting site. If you choose that service, like Skype for example, it should be with your involvement and with your oversight with a service like Skype, which can be a wonderful tool. But for the rest, that's a policy I absolutely recommend parents have.

View Mary Kay Hoal's video on Kids and the dangers of web cams...


Expert Bio

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Mary Kay Hoal

Family Internet Safety Expert

Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert on children’s online safety. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Mary Kay also offers parents Internet-safety information and tips at She has been profiled on CNN, Fox & Friends, FOX Business, E!, Lifetime TV, ABC News Now, and The Reader's Digest. Mary Kay is also part of the "Web Avenger" team for ABC's 20/20.

In 2012, Mary Kay founded The Yoursphere Media Foundation and Coalition for Internet Safety Education and Reform (FCISER), which is dedicated to creating a network of community educators that provide children, their parents, schools and communities, with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools they need to have a positive and safer digital experience.

Mary Kay has also been published on sites such as, Yahoo! Shine and ABC News where she's able to reach millions of parents. 


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