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Fawbert & Barnard's Primary School

Learning for Life


What is chatting?

There are lots of different ways you can chat to people online - and lots of different places you can do it. Chatting includes every type of service which allows you to have a conversation with somebody else. It can be text based messaging (such as instant messaging or SMS) or via a voice or video link (such as by VoIP internet phone calls or a webcam). It can also be instant, real-time communication (chat rooms or instant messaging) or delayed (such as e-mail or voicemail). Chatting like this is a great way to stay in touch - as well as meet new people. But there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a good time and stay safe.

Things to think about

  • Know who you’re talking to online; if you don’t know someone face to face they could be anyone
  • Remember – what you do or show on your webcam can be recorded and what they do or show on their webcam at the other end might be a recording
  • Avoid having one-sided webcam conversations where the other person’s webcam is ‘broken’ or, ‘not working...’; you won’t know who they really are, what they are doing or who they are watching with

Things to do

  • Keep your personal information private - avoid sharing personal information such as your phone number, home address or photographs with people you don’t know in person and trust

  • Check whether the service you use allows you to create friend lists. These lists let you manage who sees what. For example, you may only want your closest friends to see some information

  • Keep your clothes on when using webcam - images of you could end up in the wrong hands

  • Use private messages for people you know in person and trust; be careful of private messaging people you don’t know

  • Use a strong and unique password for all of your online accounts – a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (and if you’ve ever shared it in the past, change it)

  • Know how to block someone if they make you feel uncomfortable or upset

  • Learn how to save chat logs and texts so that if someone does make you uncomfortable/upset, you have the evidence to report them

  • Remember to log out of a service properly after use, especially on a shared computer

Additional advice for parents/carers

  • Talk to your child about who they’re talking to online and encourage them to think before talking to people they don’t know in person

  • Try to understand and guide your child’s online behaviour - negotiate and establish boundaries and discuss sensitively the issues around the concept of ‘friends’

  • Familiarise yourself with the chat programme your child uses. Find out more about its
    10 built-in safety functions and how they can be contacted within the service

  • Ask your child if they know how to block someone who they don’t want to talk to anymore. If they don’t, help them to learn how to use the blocking feature

  • Use parental control software provided by your internet service provider, mobile phone network, online content provider or games console and consider using filtering options, monitoring and setting time limits for access to chat

  • If you discover misconduct between your child and someone online stay calm, investigate the facts and seek expert help if needed

  • As part of a wider discussion about sex and relationships cover how people may use the internet to explore their sexuality, which may include sexual chatting


  • If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to an adult you trust, such as a relative or teacher. If you would prefer to talk to someone in confidence you can contact Childline (0800 1111). If someone has acted inappropriately online towards you, or someone you know, you can report directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). It could be sexual chat, being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or someone asking to meet up.

  • If someone is bullying you, there is help and support available from CyberMentors