Think before you cam

03 Nov 2015 UK SIC

Webcams are extremely popular with young people and adults. They offer the opportunity for people to chat face to face with family and friends through video calling services such as Skype and FaceTime, hold video conferences with more than one person on social networking sites and even use the webcam as a barcode scanner to check the cost/trade in value of goods online. 

There are a huge number of positive uses and potential for using webcams as a tool for communication.  Our advice can help you minimise the risks associated with webcams and video chatting.

Think before you cam

Always consider who you are chatting to and what you are sharing with them. Sharing photos or video taken via a webcam can give away personal information. Be aware that webcam footage can also be recorded by someone and then potentially shared and uploaded anywhere online.

Online friendship

On some services you may receive chat requests from people you don’t know. It’s far better to stick to chatting with people you know in the offline world too; your family and friends. If a site or service has privacy settings, always make use of them to control who can contact you.

Webcam content online

Some webcam chat sites allow you to chat to and see strangers online and may put you at risk of seeing pornographic content or adult behaviour on webcam. This content should always be reported to the website/service. 

Just say no

People may use webcam chat to convince you to appear naked on camera or perform sexually suggestive acts. This can then be recorded by the watcher and be potentially used to threaten or blackmail. If someone ever asks you to do or say anything on camera that makes you feel uncomfortable then just say no and tell an adult you trust.

Tell someone

If you have been the subject of inappropriate sexual contact or approach by another person via webcam or other forms of online communication then it is vital to tell a trusted adult and to report it to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

It’s also important to consider some of the technical risks and to help prevent these by making sure you think about where you webcam is, what sites and services you use and what steps you can take to protect your webcam.  For more technical advice visit:

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