What is an avatar?
An avatar is a graphic, computer-generated picture or 3D model that a person uses to represent himself/herself in social media forums or computer games.
How does it work?
Users may upload an avatar, photograph or other graphic as their signature image. These can be changed by the user through their social media account settings. Three-dimensional avatars are more common in computer games and online virtual worlds.
Why are avatars useful?
The majority of internet forums and Instant Messaging applications have a small square-shaped area close to the user's messages so that other users can easily identify who has written the message without having to read their username.
Avatars provide users with a way of personalising their social media account in a fun way that enables them to reflect their personality, beliefs and interests.
What do you need to keep in mind if your children are using avatars?
Avatars and photographs used in online forums may not be a true representation of the person actually posting the information. Be aware of who your child is talking to (and who is talking to them) in online forums. They shouldn't respond to any comment or action that makes them feel uncomfortable, but report it to the site administrators and parents.