Meeting new people is always interesting, especially when you meet online. Almost everyone has a MySpace and Facebook account and there seem to be millions of chat rooms. But there are some dangers in meeting people online - how do you really know if someone is who they say they are?
Here are some tips on how to meet people safely online:
- Make sure that only your friends can view your MySpace and Facebook profiles – you can do this by altering the security settings.
- Don't ever give out any personal information that could let the other person identify you, or your friends and family (like your real name and address, the name of your school or where you work, your mobile or home number). Use a new email account that doesn't contain your real name or any other personal information.
- On sites like MySpace and Facebook, only befriend people you know.
- Don't share photos.
- Listen to your instincts: you are right to be suspicious of people who change their stories, start sexual conversations and pressure you to send photos or meet in person.
When meeting a stranger face-to-face:
- Always meet in a public place, like a shopping centre or café. Ask the person what they will be wearing. Make sure you get there early so you can check out the person before they see you.
- Go with a friend, or group of friends. And tell your parent/s where you are going.
- Know how you're going to get home before you get there: arrange for someone to pick you up, or take cash for the bus or train. And never get into a car with someone you've just met or someone you don't know very well.
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