general stuff

it is not for us or anybody else to judge behaviour or decide how people should or shouldn’t behave online

our only concern is to ensure that people are aware and educated about the kind of things that can happen and how to avoid being manipulated or coerced into doing things they hadn’t planned to do

be careful what personal information you put on the internet

if you are buying something then the company will need your address for delivery and your card details to pay. That company are then legally responsible for looking after that information and protecting you from it being used by anything other than the purpose you intended

there is no need to put your phone number or address on sites such as Facebook, you can if that is what you want to do, but be aware it means that those details are on the internet and might be able to be seen by someone , unlikely but it might happen ... if it worries you at all don’t do it

if your friend who you have met and went shopping with last week wants your phone number because they want to chat to you that is very different from someone you met on twitter asking you for your number. make sure you are comfortable with the reason they are asking for it before handing it over

talking online ~ forums & chat rooms

it is of course fun to discuss things online with people all over the globe

it is good to remember that all the usual things we rely on when communicating are not there,

we can’t see eyes and facial expressions which is where we usually get a lot of our information from when chatting, even on a phone we have the tone of voice to help us.

Online we can misunderstand something written lightly and read it as aggressive or argumentative, if you know the person in real life always ask yourself if they would say something in that manner. If you have never met them and know nothing about their style of chatting it is often safer to assume that it was meant in a light manner and to not get annoyed or over react

if you have managed to get embroiled in a heated exchange and it feels a little out of control it is good to remember that this is a virtual conversation and that they have no idea where you live or who you are

think before you post information about yourself

if you never put your address or phone number on Facebook there is no danger of anyone seeing it

online relationships are just the same as in real life, most people are normal and perfectly nice and there is no reason not to speak with them or befriend them. A few people have bad intentions and therefore it is sensible to ensure that you do all you can to be safe

if you don’t feel quite right about a person or what you are being asked to do or say the chances are that your instincts are right, most normal people sensible nice people won’t be offended if you refuse to do something on the grounds that it doesn’t feel right.

talking online ~ webcam & video chat

as broadband improves and our internet connections become faster and more stable it is becoming easier to use webcams to have video conversations

as with everything else this can be fun and a great way to stay in touch with friends

be aware that if you have an active webcam on your computer, it will often show the other person that you have the option of connecting via webcam and they may ask you to switch it on

if somebody requests a video conversation with you apply the same simple rules you would with anyone or any other kind of communication ... do you know them? is it appropriate for them to request a video chat?

young people sometimes use video chat to play around with nudity and masturbation, if anyone asks you to participate and you don’t want to or feel pressured remember you have complete control over the off switch, your connection can be disconnected at the click of a button

be aware there is a possibility of the person recording what is happening and later using the recording on porn websites, if you feel uncomfortable at what someone is asking you or persuading you to do remember it is your choice to leave if you wish to

be especially suspicious if somebody claims their webcam isn’t working but encourage you to do things on camera