So far, we know of two methods for PS Vita players to chat over the Internet: Skype, and Augmented Reality chat. Kids will find this a great way to keep in touch with friends, but parents should know the details of these programs.
Skype is a popular, free-to-use video-calling program that can be used to make calls from one Internet-connected device to another. A version of Skype was available for PSP models 2000 and up, and as such, PSP owners could call a PC, Mac, or other PSP owner, as long as the recipient had Skype installed.
Even though there was an external camera made for PSP, Skype calls on PSP never allowed video to be transmitted, only audio. This let down a lot of PSP users. There was some hope that, if Skype arrived on the PS Vita, it would finally support video calls thanks to the system's integrated, forward-facing camera. This hope, however, seemed dashed when Microsoft bought Skype earlier this year.
Photos from a recent Sony conference in Brazil seem to indicate that Microsoft does plan to release Skype on the PS Vita, after all. As this was a larger Sony conference (not just a PlayStation one), it hasn't been formally confirmed, but you can bet that PS Vita will have the Skype we always wanted--that is, one with video chatting.
If you are a parent, you should be aware that the PS Vita will likely feature Skype video-calling, and that it may be available out-of-the-box. Your children could sign up for Skype by themselves quite easily, so you should give them the same supervision and guidance as you would when they are on the computer.
More concrete information on Skype for PS Vita will be added to this article as it becomes available.
Augmented Reality Chat
Sony has given a demo of Augmented Reality chat on the PS Vita. In it, you can see the video feed of the chatters' faces, but the larger window features an avatar--a computer-generated model chosen by the chatter to represent them. The avatar captures the motion of the chatters' faces, from larger head movements to lip-syncing, with impressive accuracy. However, with the kid-friendly avatars or not, it will be possible put things other than faces in front of the cameras.
The AR chat might be accessed through games that support the cameras, like Little Deviants, or it might be a standalone program for all PS Vita users. If you are a parent, you should know that this will be available, likely to anyone who has a PSN account.