What are Forums?
Forums are social communities online that usually have a focus around a specific topic, e.g. video games, music, aviation, etc. People create “threads” that relate to different aspects of the general topic of discussion and post comments.
While many forums are public and most websites have their own forums, there are places on the Internet, such as Yuku and Proboards, that allow people to create personalized forums for themselves and their friends.
Concerns for Parents
- There are forums created with subjects that are inappropriate for younger children.
- Some comment posts by people on forums can contain vulgar and crude language. There is the risk of cyberbullying that occurs on forum websites as well, although many forum administrators make an effort to stop it.
- Some comment posts by people can also post links to inappropriate websites that children can unknowingly click on.
- Online Predators use forums to gain personal information from other people.
How Can I Help Keep My Child Safe?
- You can check your child’s browser history to see which websites they’ve been visiting and sometimes see what they’ve been posting there.
- Talk to your child about what websites they’re visiting and teach them not to give out personal information to anyone online.
- If necessary, you can block access to the forum website by installing Internet filters, although there are other ways for children to communicate with each other, including IM chatting and email.
Where Can I Learn More?
Kids Turn Central, a children’s safety website, provides additional information about forums here.