Ahh, the online blogosphere—such a magical place. In this day and age, you can practically do anything with the help of the internet. You can order a pizza, find how-to videos, and even make a few friends along the way. Now, there are certain rules to follow when striking up a conversation with strangers online. It’s important to keep these in mind; remember safety always comes first! While chatting up a stranger may seem new and exciting, we want to make sure that you stay safe while still having fun. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of chit-chatting with strangers online.
1. Never, ever EVER share your personal information with a stranger. This includes your home address, your phone number, the school you attend—even your last name! When typing away in your computer, it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to tell your new friend all about yourself. Keep the personal details on the down low and instead talk about fun hobbies or the latest episode of The Good Wife. Is Alicia really over Will? Hmm…
2. Don’t download anything from anyone you don’t know. Whether it’s a file, a photo or a video, downloading strange things can lead to bizarre computer viruses or even a potential hack. Remember, you never really know who you are talking to just by looking at a computer screen name, so downloading anything is an absolute NO.
3. Don’t feel obligated to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable or scared. Don’t forget that chatting online is supposed to be fun! If a topic is brought up that doesn’t sit well with you, leave the chat immediately. Keep in mind that you are always in control. Under no circumstance should you be forced to talk or think about anything inappropriate.
4. And finally, don’t post a personal picture of yourself. If “Stranger Sally” is asking what you look like, time to put up the red flag. It is never necessary for someone to know what you look like; signs like these can turn creepy real quick.