Getting The Most Out of Skype’s Safety Tools

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Connecting with friends and family over video chat can be an awesome experience; unfortunately, it’s just one of those technologies that can sway from one end of the spectrum to the other depending on who’s using it and for what reasons.

I use the video-chatting program Skype for a lot of business reasons.  It’s a great way to have video conference calls or host a group meeting from a remote location. But I recently came across a startling inconvenience that I wanted to share with you.

This notification popped up a couple of days ago (click to enlarge):

From talks around the office, it seems like this is a fairly common, and reoccurring thing with Skype if you don’t adjust your privacy settings.

The thing that concerned me most was the fact that a lot of kids use Skype to chat with their friends.  I mean, why wouldn’t they?  It’s a free and easy way to connect.  Unfortunately, with Skype being free and easy to use, and as heavily populated as it is (more than 560 million users), it also acts as a major conduit for pedophiles, cyberbullies, and sextortionists.

Here’s what you can do to activate the safety controls on Skype:

  1. Start the Skype application
  2. Go to the top toolbar and click on “Skype”
  3. Click on Privacy
  4. Make sure your privacy settings resemble the settings in the picture below


Also, if an unwanted message or IM request somehow gets through, you can always manually block that person from every contacting you.  This puts their username on a list of blocked contacts, which is located in the “blocked contacts” tab in the picture above.

I have to admit, I was disappointed in myself for not having activated these controls prior to receiving that unwanted notification. Do your kids and yourself a favor and take a few minutes to set these controls. In the end it’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about while your kids are online.

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  • Hi there – You can view the history of any conversation by simply logging into your child’s Skype account and selecting the contact from her contact list. Once you do, you’ll see the conversation list for that particular contact, which is separated by date. However, you should know that your child’s privacy settings could be set to clear history upon logging out, preventing you from seeing any conversation history at all. This setting can be viewed and changed by going to Tools > Options > Privacy > Under the “Keep History For” section.

  • Can I get a history of Skype conversations my child has had with someone she met in a chat room and with whom she has subsequently had many Skype conversations?

  • Irony!
    I just wrote my first posting in another part of your excellent Mary Kay privacy forum; then came here. Must have been slipped a “cookie”; I see the the “Your Name and E-Mail” posting ID blanks are already filled-out with my name and address.
    Here it’s OK, I don’t mind it; it’s just the irony of it…

  • Thanks for sharing this Mary Kay – that’s another fine mess you’ve got some folks out of 🙂
    Your readers should also be aware that other social media can also catch them out in this way.
    The key is to look at the default settings on anything you sign up for and keep checking regularly.