Should you allow child contact via Skype?
The biggest consideration in using Skype is that it isn't private. Skype video calls will allow the person to see and listen not only the child but his surroundings.
The example uses mother as the victim and father as the abuser, although domestic violence affects more women, it also affects men.
- It means the mother can listen into the conversation and it may cause her to react, argue or get upset.
- The abuser will realise that the mother can hear what he is saying and use the conversation to say things to the mother.
- He may be able to overhear the mother or other people in the house.
- The other issue is because it is video, the father will be able to see things within the camera's range. There may be visual clues as to where they are living, for example a school uniform.
- The mother or other people could also been seen during a Skype conversation. So, if for example he overhears or sees her with another man, or someone the abuser doesn't approve of it could act as a trigger.
- Skype allows you send files to another user. The father should not send files to the children as this could have spyware on it and infect the computer allowing him to turn on the video camera remotely to watch and listen what is taking place in the house.
- Schedule Skype calls at a specific time. This will allow the mother and anyone else in the house to remove themselves and remain away from the room during the Skype call.
- Create a designated area to have the Skype call. A chair or table with a blank wall behind them would be ideal.
- Use a private room where the door can be closed so if someone else is talking, the father can't hear them.
- Explain to the children not to accept any files that their father may try to send using Skype.