How to Find Your Child's Chat Record on a Computer


With the threat of online grooming, making sure that your child is chatting safely online is highly recommended. Unfortunately not all social networks and messenger services have a chat history. Facebook, for example, does not currently have a permanent chat history but there are online applications that can record chat histories for you. Other messenger services (e.g. MSN Messenger) do record chat conversations and you can access them directly from the program window.

  • Retrieve your child's Facebook chat history by installing an Internet add-on. Facebook currently does not have an option to record or store your Facebook Chat history. Firefox and Google Chrome's Facebook Chat History Manager is a free download where you can save, view, delete and export online conversations. Once you have downloaded and installed the add-on you must sign up for an account. If you don't you will not be able to record and view your child's chat history. Click on the "Tools" icon in the command bar of your browser, select "Facebook Chat History Manager" and click on the "Get Facebook ID" option. You will then have to log in to your child's Facebook account to get his ID. Every conversation will now be saved in the application window, located in the Tools command of your Internet browser.

  • Save your child's Google Chat conversations. Gmail - the official email and chat service from Google - automatically saves conversations. However, if your child has turned the option off you must check the "Save Chat History" box located in the Chat tab (click the "Settings" option on Gmail homepage to find the Chat tab). Google will save any conversations in the "Chat" option located on the left-hand side of the Gmail homepage; it is usually located above the "Sent Mail" option. From here you can view, delete or save any Chats. Turning the "Save Chat History" option on is easy enough in a family account but if your child has his own account you must enter it with his own email address and password.

  • Record your child's MSN Messenger chats. As one of the most popular messenger services, MSN is one of the most likely places your child may encounter online groomers. In MSN Messenger select the "Tools" option on the command toolbar and then select "Options..." and the "Messages" tab. At the bottom of the dialog there is a "Message History" option; select it and choose a destination folder for the conversations to be saved to (e.g. a "Chat History" folder on your hard drive). These files will always be saved as XML extensions which can be easily opened with Internet Explorer or Notepad.

  • Reassure your child if you have trouble obtaining his login information. Programs such as Facebook Chat History Manager and Google Chat require your child's username and password for you to record his conversations. Make sure that you let him know the dangers of Internet grooming and pedophiles and ensure that they understand you are looking out for his safety and are not spying on their personal lives.

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