Practicing Precaution in Online Chatrooms
Online chat rooms are a popular way to meet new people and discuss topics that interest you. But it pays to be safe when online. Next time you log on for some conversation, keep these safety tips in mind.
- Always keep your personal information confidential. Don’t reveal things such as your name, age, address, phone number, place of employment, schedule or photo.
- Choose a user id that does not reveal any of this information about yourself. Never share your password with anyone.
- Register an alternative email address for use in chat rooms if you want to have a way for others to contact you directly. Don’t give out your regular email address. You can get free anonymous email addresses to use at sites like hotmail.com or yahoo.com.
- Don’t use a signature line that includes personal information.
- Instruct your children on internet safety. They should never reveal personal information, including details about their school or activities. Let them know that they should come to you if they feel uncomfortable or suspicious of any online communication.
- If you ever choose to meet someone you’ve met online in person, do so only in a public place away from your home and only after you’ve established his or her identity. Take along a friend and let someone else know where you are going and when you will be there. Don’t go home with your new acquaintance or take him or her to your home.
- And finally, if you ever feel suspicious or uncomfortable at any level of your online chatting relationship, immediately stop responding and take steps to report any suspicious activities or communications.
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