Safety Tips for Parents and Carers on Lycos Chat and other Social Networking Sites

Safety Tips for Parents and Carers on Lycos Chat and other Social Networking Sites

1. Become familiar with the Lycos Chat

Parents and carers should become familiar with the Lycos Chat. Read our terms and conditions, help guides and make sure you know how to report any issues your child may experience.

Ask your child to show you around the Lycos Chat. Ask them what they do on the Chat, and how the entire product works. This will help you understand your child's habits and enable you to assess how well they understand the potential issues associated with using the service.

It is important that your child registers their correct age to ensure that the safety protection tools provided for under 16/18's are applied to them and get the best content and experience. Remind them that lying about their age puts them at risk and would mean we cannot protect them as we would like.

Visit the Lycos Chat regularly and familiarise yourself with the services we offer, such as creating a profile, uploading images, making friends etc..

Remind your child to review their contact list on a regular basis to make sure they still want each person on it.

Negotiate with your child to visit and view their personal profile.

If you are concerned about your child's use of Lycos Chat contact a Navigator who can advise you on the best way to deal with it.

2. Striking a balance

Children and young people have strong views about their privacy and it will be important for you to help your child to use the Lycos Chat responsibly and safely.

There is an important balance between educating children and young people about the risks online, viewing what they are doing and actually trusting them in their use of the Chat, and allowing them a degree of autonomy. You are the best judge of how much autonomy you wish to give and this would be dependent on your child's age and maturity.

3. Guarding privacy

It is critical that children and young people understand the importance of protecting their privacy online. Make sure they know about the Ignore feature, never giving out personal information like email addresses, mobile phone numbers, home addresses and although you may not have thought about it, the name of their school. Their school is a key identifier for a predator.

It is important that children and young people think carefully about adding a stranger to their "friends list" even if another friend has recommended them - people are not always who they claim to be.

Talk to your child about the importance of keeping their password to their Lycos Chat account private to protect against someone taking control of their ChatNick.

Ensure that your child is aware of the privacy setting options in their Photo Album. It is important that you negotiate with your child the appropriate level of privacy and that it matches their level of emotional maturity and understanding.

Advise your child of the potential risks in sharing any information that may help locate them in the real Chat, for example, whether any images have a precise place name. Also school uniforms give a lot away.

4. Managing personal images

The use and sharing of images has exploded online especially on social networking sites.

It is very important that children and young people consider and choose carefully what they share online with friends and the wider community on the Chat, especially as photos can be easily copied and changed.

Photos can contain information, which, on its own may seem innocuous, but when put together with other information (e.g. school details) can be used to locate and identify the child.

Photos should be suitable i.e. not provocative, so as not to attract unwanted attention from adults who may wish to exploit children and young people.

The Lycos Chat does not allow "inappropriate" images and will remove them when they are brought to our attention.

Check with your child whether they are comfortable with the content they are posting being seen by everyone they know and whether it might embarrass them at a later stage.

5. Managing comments and postings

Many youngsters go to great lengths building their Profiles and PortHoles so receiving comments from the wider community can be exciting, compelling and is expected.

It is important that children and young people understand the need to be responsible in what they post and contribute to other people's comment areas - "think before you post" is a good maxim.

There have been some incidents of bullying often amongst known friends on Social Networking sites - whereby bullying in the playground has continued and possibly escalated online. The potential to humiliate and harass individuals through comments and posting images can be extremely hurtful and have a number of unintended consequences, such as spreading very quickly to a much larger audience online. It is important for parents to set rules with their children about what is OK and what is not OK to post on the Lycos Chat about anyone known or unknown.

Emphasise to your child that once a comment or a posting is made it may not be possible to retract it.

6. Managing your children's flirtatious behaviour

It is important that parents discuss and establish boundaries about flirting online with your child from an early age e.g. when your child begins to show an interest in and is beginning to use interactive services.

Teens may engage in flirting or sexual exploration online and it is important to discuss the need for boundaries in relationships even with known boyfriends and girlfriends.

Parents and guardians should discuss, and emphasise, particularly with older teens, the dangers of flirting with strangers online. As some people lie about who they really are, no one really knows who they are interacting with.

7. Meeting up with online "friends" or strangers

Meeting "online friends" who may be strangers in the real Chat is not new or particular to sites like ours. Children and young people often assume that those people they have spent time interacting with online are real friends and therefore safe to meet. However, as with all meetings with strangers there may be risks and great caution should be applied.

It is important for children and young people to think very carefully before agreeing to meet anyone they have met online and agree any such meetings with their parents or carers in advance.

Parents should ensure that any meetings with "online friends" takes place in public and with trusted friends or adults present.

8. Getting help and reporting abuse

It is critical for parents and carers to maintain an ongoing dialogue and have regular conversations with their children about anything that is worrying them or has happened online.

If you suspect that your child or another child is being solicited online or is being "groomed" by someone with a sexual interest in children it is important to report it immediately to a Navigator who can take action.

If you have any copies of communications, images, messages or other content related to the solicitation of a child it is important to keep them and pass them to either a Navigator or direct to the Police.

Make sure your child knows how to do a print screen so that they can provide evidence of this behaviour.

It is very important that both you and your child understands how to report anything that might be inappropriate or illegal either to us, law enforcement or other designated agency.

There are now a number of places to report potential illegal behaviour online, for example, in the UK the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) (, in the US the NCMEC Cybertipline (


Safety Tips for Children and Young People

Safety Tips for Children and Young People

Many children and young people have a profile on Lycos Chat. The Chat can be a lot of fun, and can be a great place to share your interests, communicate with friends and learn new skills in using technologies. However, as in the real world, it is important that you take care of yourself, your friends and the wider community.

1. Stay in Control

The Lycos Chat is a great place to connect with friends you know in the real world as well as meet new people. Interacting with friends is pretty safe, however interacting with "friends of friends" and even "friends of friends of friends" may mean that you are providing information to the sorts of people you would not necessarily be so open within the real world. Therefore you should consider the following;

  • Before setting up your Profile, think about who it is you want to connect to and who else will be able to view it?
  • You are not able to limit your Profile to be viewed by Friends only. So be very aware of the type of information you place there.
  • Check that settings for your pictures are thought about carefully. Think about who you really want to see them.
  • Remember, even when setting a picture to be seen by only your Friends, disputes can still occur between the closest of friends and your content may be misused e.g. to bully you or to damage your reputation. Therefore, think very carefully about what you share with your friends online.
  • You must protect your password to the Lycos Chat and not share it, even with your friends to limit the risk of others gaining control of your ChatNick.
  • Make sure that you register your correct age so you can benefit from all the security features we have designed for you.
  • Review your contacts list on a regular basis to check that you want to share interact with all your contacts.

Also think about the following:

  • Be cautious. Your Profile is public and this may have unintended consequences!! It is a good idea to be careful about the kind of information you share about yourself and how you manage your online reputation.
  • Remember, with a public profile it is not just "friends of friends of friends" but anyone who could actually be able to view your Profile, pictures, search and find you online.
  • The Lycos Chat does have some privacy options in the PhotoAlbum - select the one that is appropriate for you.

2. Uploading Content

One of the best things about the Lycos Chat is the ability to "load up" your content online, for example uploading images to experience other people?s reactions to it. It is also very exciting to access and comment on others people?s pictures. However, there are some basic things you should consider before "loading up".

  • Is the content appropriate for the intended audience and how might it be used or misused by others? For example, pictures can be copied and altered and posted elsewhere.
  • Information you post will also reflect the kind of person you are, and will influence how others perceive you.
  • Guard your online reputation. Think carefully before uploading pictures and sharing information on your profile that shows you or your friends in any compromising situations. Seek permission from your friends before you upload pictures of other people. Protect your friends and family, they have reputations too!
  • Remember what may seem funny to you, can actually be very hurtful and offensive to others - so "think" before you post comments on other people's PortHoles.
  • Do not post content that could be viewed as racist, homophobic, bullying, or threatening. Remember these sorts of behaviours could result in your Profile being removed, and the possibility of the Police becoming involved.
  • You need to take care before uploading any images of you posing in a sexually provocative way. Unfortunately, there are people on the Internet who may misuse these images in ways that could cause you a lot of upset.
  • Try not to bring disputes, arguments and hostilities toward others that you know in real life into the online community.
  • Setting up a fake Profile to pose as someone else may seem like an effective way to cause embarrassment to the person you are impersonating. However, this type of activity can have very serious consequences, not only in terms of the distress and hurt you may cause to another person but it may also lead to intervention by the Police.
  • It important that you understand that you are not anonymous online and can be traced even if you provide a fake email account and registration information. Every computer and device connected to the Internet is allocated a unique address by your service provider. This address is linked to the real world location of the computer or device you use. The Police can access your unique address, which is linked to every communication you send online.
  • Remember to be a good friend and remind your friends if they are behaving inappropriately that they are not anonymous and can be traced.
  • Copyright refers to the protection given to authors, which protects them against unauthorised copying of their work. Copyright can be attached to text, music, pictures and video clips. Check carefully for the copyright status of any content prior to copying or sharing. Violation of copyright can lead to very serious consequences.
  • You can use a Creative Commons to mark your creative work with the freedoms you want it to carry. You can use Creative Commons to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." It is important to consider what sort of protection you would like to give to your own content and to respect the Copyright protections linked to other users content.
  • The Lycos Chat does have some privacy options in the PhotoAlbum - select the one that is appropriate for you.

3. Respect the Lycos Chat

The Lycos Chat thrives on interactions that are interesting, funny and witty. It is important to contribute in engaging and relevant ways. Your images, conversations and comments that you share with others help to shape the online community and ultimately, can make it and all of its neighbourhoods a great place to "hang out".

There are some basic points which will demonstrate your respect for the community as follows;

  • Respect what other people contribute in terms of conversations in rooms and also the time and effort they have put into creating their Profile.
  • The Chat is a very public place, so local or personal disagreements can spiral very quickly out of control and lead to very public humiliation, which can cause hurt and distress beyond what you ever intended.
  • If you become aware of any difficulties that other people are experiencing, for example, threatening, bullying or nasty behaviours, do not interact in ways which might worsen the situation - report it to a Navigator and seek their help and advice.

4. Just don't take it! Reporting abuse and seeking advice and help

If problems or difficulties arise within the community use the available tools to ignore, or report inappropriate behaviours or content to a Navigator.

Our help section has links to sources of expert help and advice (both online and offline), confidential help lines or support services.

On occasions the behaviour you experience online may require contacting the police directly. If you or another young person are in immediate danger and you require an urgent response, you must call 999 or your local police.

Speak to a Navigator, trusted adult or friend if you are unsure about anything. It is always good to seek advice when you are unsure.