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:
- Start the Skype application
- Go to the top toolbar and click on “Skype”
- Click on Privacy
- 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.