The internet is great! It’s fascinating to have so much information at your finger tips. You can keep in touch with friends and family even though they may be miles away.
There are, however, some safety ideas to keep in mind so that you are able to enjoy all that the Internet has to offer and stay safe too!
Why do I need to know about Internet safety?
Chatting or meeting people online is fun; but you have to be careful because it can and has in some cases in the past proved unsafe for some people. Some people use the internet to seduce and con young people into sexually abusive situations. This is easy to do so as the
Internet gives the opportunity to remain anonymous online.
Anyone can enter a chat room or send E-mail messages and portray themselves how they want. They can make up an age, occupation, and physical attributes – even their sex. This can be extremely dangerous.
Are there any particular sites I need to be extra careful about?
Sites where young adults tend to visit regularly, like chat rooms about rock stars, movie idols, video games, etc. A stalker/sex offender could enter a chat room and introduce themselves as a 14-year-old female for example.
They could ask any person online to enter a private room so they can chat alone via computer. It is very easy to mislead a young person who believes they are communicating with a peer with similar interests.
So what are some ideas for safety on the internet?
Never give out a phone number, address or photo to an online pen pal or someone you met in a chat room unless you talk to someone trusted first.
Never assume someone is who they say they are.
NEVER agree to meet with an online acquaintance without first talking to someone you trust. If you do arrange a meeting, make sure to tell someone, where and whom you are going to meet and only meet in a safe public place. You could perhaps even meet the new person accompanied with a friend or two or even as a group.
If a contact from the Internet wants to meet you and insists on meeting alone, don’t be flattered – be suspicious. Any new friend worth having would be cautious themselves about meeting you for the first time, too.
Keep your passwords secret and change them regularly.
Do not respond to mean or threatening emails. If they continue, always tell someone trusted or contact your local service provider. (Your Internet software has ways of blocking these messages and you can find out more about it).
Always follow these guidelines no matter what computer you’re on or where you’re at.