Safe Online Chat

image description Photo Credit: European Parliament
Meeting people with similar interests can be fun and exciting, and it'۪s not unusual to want to share information about yourself. When doing this, it'۪s important to keep in mind how much you know about the person you'۪re sharing your information with. Sometimes you might not know a lot about the person you'۪re chatting with, which makes it harder to stay safe. There are a number of things you can do to stay safe when chatting or meeting with someone you've met online.

Be careful when communicating using the internet. Some of the ways in which the Internet can be wrongly used include:

  • Someone harassing you for information when you've asked not to be contacted.
  • Someone using the Internet to gain your trust so he or she can then have sexual contact with you.
  • Someone using the Internet to know your schedule so that he or she can rob your house or even, worse stalk and harass you in person.
Avoid giving out personal details. Remember, using the Internet to meet people means you don'۪t really know who is on the other end of the line.

Meet new people in a group.
If you decide to meet someone you've chatted with online, make sure you meet in a place where there are lots of people around. Having a group of friends nearby is a good idea and the same goes for letting people know where you are going and how long you plan to be there.

Avoid chatting with people who make sexual references.
If you've cut off contact with a person who is using sexual language, but that person keeps contacting you, notify the police.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 
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