Does your teenager want to use the Internet to meet and communicate with new cyber-friends? Are they looking for others who share similar interests? To do this, they may want to go into online chat rooms.

Internet chat rooms are fun and a way to meet new friends. Its also easy to use and interact with others. There are some pretty safe places for teens to go online however, not all online chat rooms are safe. That is one reason why many parents often allow their kids to use message boards instead of chat rooms. You may wonder, though, if its really a safer option.

Even if you aren’t an avid internet user yourself, you likely know that online message boards and online chat rooms are different. Online chat rooms have live communication appearing on the screen. Conversations are held at that very moment. Message boards involve communications that may carry on for days or even weeks. There are also more detailed and themed discussed that occur on message boards, as opposed to chat rooms. Common message board topics for teens include homework, parents, pets, music and sports.

Message Boards do not have conversations that are live. Multiple posters may be online at the same time, but it is common for someone to post a topic and not get a response for a few hours or even a day or two. In fact, if your child makes a post about their new pet, someone may ask about their pet or congratulate them when they aren’t even online themselves. This gives many parents comfort and peace of mind in suing Message Boards instead of chat rooms.

Another reason why some parents prefer letting their children use online message boards is that they usually are monitored by a trusted adult. This person is sometimes paid for their work. This means that all offensive posts should be removed in a relatively short period of time. Many times, the moderator will also ban that user from returning.

As a parent, you set the rules for your teenager online. If you are going to allow them to use message boards, remember that not all message boards are moderated. Most message boards for adults also have someone who reviews the content. With that said, there is no harm in checking. In fact, the same should be done with internet chat rooms.

If a chat room for children or teenagers is only open for a few hours a day, as opposed to 24 hours a day, there is a good chance that a monitor is present. This may give you some comfort and peace of mind. Also, be sure to examine internet chat rooms and message boards for kids that do not allow other users to privately communicate with each other through the use of private messages, also commonly known as a PM.

Whether you let your child use an online chat room or an online message board, you should first check it out for yourself. Visit a chat room. Do not talk to anyone, but see for about five minutes what type of content is being talked about. The same should be done with online message boards for kids. Do you think that the content is safe or do any chatters or posters seem too mature for the room or message board?

As for how you can go about finding online message boards and chat rooms that are safe for your child to visit or to checkout for yourself first, you may want to perform a standard internet search. Search with a phrase like “safe online messages boards for children.” There are also television networks, like Nick and The N, which are designed for both teens and tweens, that have online message boards.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Jackson is a #1 International Bestselling author and child safety expert. For more information and your Free Internet Safety Toolkit visit eChild Safety