Whether you’re just trying to get your head around the technology or you have privacy concerns—having heard stories of uninvited chat session drop-ins known as “bombing”—think through the following questions to make sure the app is safe for you and your family.
Someone’s invited me to a video chat. Do I need an account?
Most major services, like Zoom, BlueJeans by Verizon, Skype and FaceTime, don’t require an account to join a video chat. Creating invitations and hosting meetings generally requires an account and login. Having an account provides an additional layer of security and access to safety features outlined below.
What can I do to help keep my kids’ video chats secure?
Video chat apps require that users be at least 13 to have their own account. In addition to this requirement, consider video chat apps to be kid-friendly when privacy controls are in place. Look for video chat apps that have these basic privacy setting options:
Guest moderation: The ability to admit users allows the host to confirm that only invited and acceptable parties are welcomed into the chat.
Lock meeting: This prevents other users from attempting to join the video chat.
Passwords: Requiring a password to enter the video chat will keep others from bombing your video chat or conference.
Disable/block participants: Momentarily disabling or permanently blocking certain participants can help keep your kid’s calls private to a controlled group.
Sharing controls: Controls within video chat apps generally allow management of who can share screens and files, limiting attempts to disrupt calls with unwanted or inappropriate content.
If you have any other specific privacy needs or concerns, there are generally “Privacy” or “Security” settings options that vary by app.