Chat Safety Tips

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Before You Chat:

When you participate in online chats, you will need to adhere to particular rules and etiquette guidelines. It is important to learn chat etiquette, especially if you want to make your chat experience more enjoyable.

Entering a chat room:

When you first enter a chat room, it is a good idea to say “Hello” to everybody. Take a while to observe how people interact in the chat room, before you take part in the conversation.

In a Chat:

Be careful of what you say in a chat. Because others cannot hear your voice or see your face, it is possible that your comments can be misconstrued. Use “emoticons” and other chat expressions wherever possible. If someone is annoying you, you can “Ignore” them. Every chat and instant messenger has an “Ignore” feature. If you don’t know how to Ignore someone, read the chat’s help feature.

Safety Tips:

Never say anything in a chat room that you would not say in public. Never give out personal information, like your name, home address, school address, where you’ll be that afternoon, your telephone number, your personal email address (give them a public address), or any other information that could help someone figure out your actual identity (or anyone else’s).

Leave a chat immediately if someone makes you uncomfortable, starts asking you too many personal questions, is sexually explicit, or starts to harass you. Ignore invitations to chat privately with people you do not know.

On IRC you can start your own chat room, or channel. You can even create a private channel that no one can see, so that you and your friends can chat in a private, harassment-free channel. You can create a password for your channel as well. This means that you can create a chat room for you and your friends, and kick anyone out who joins in and acts in an offensive way.

Choose your handle wisely. If you choose a female-sounding handle, like “Cindy64,” you may be the target of unwanted behavior such as insults, sexual propositions, or even stalking. If you choose a gender-neutral name, like “csx22,” or “raver,” it is likely that most people will assume you are male, depending on the chat room you are in. On the downside, this can make females feel like they are hiding their true identity as females.

Never Meet in Person:

Never arrange to meet someone in person who you have met online without taking certain safety steps. It may be tempting to get together with friends you have made online: you may feel that your online friends really know and understand you. However, meeting someone in person who you have met online is the biggest threat to your safety. Remember, people you meet online may not be who they say they are. If you feel that it is appropriate to meet someone in person never go to the meeting by yourself, and arrange to meet in a public place that you are familiar with. Alternatively, you can arrange to meet the person in a group of your own friends.

The above are some key tips to remember in chat rooms. In addition remember to never reveal any pertinent information about yourself, such as exact location, full name, social security number, telephone number, etc. The most important rule when exploring chat rooms though is to never agree to meet someone outside of the chat room.

For more information on how to keep safe in Chat rooms, please visit the following sites:

https://www.wiredsafety.com/

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/

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