The internet can be a great way to make new friends, but it is wise to be very careful and take certain safety measures while you are online. If you haven’t already done so, please take a few moments to run through the Keeping safe online.
Please note that this list is just a small fraction of the advice and information available online. It is intended to be a launch-pad for your own investigations into the subject of internet safety.
If you know of a website, Christian or not, which should be on the above list, please let us know by contacting us here, and we’ll be glad to check it out and add it to the list.
1. Be wise – people are not always who they say they are.
True friends should be quite happy for you to tell other people about your friendship whereas a person with bad intentions may well want to keep your chats or correspondence a secret. Keep alert at all times, and watch out for any unusual behaviour or odd questions while you are online.
2. Be careful what you chat about. Do not give out personal info of any kind e.g. your full name, address, tel number etc.
There is a tendency to think that because the internet is quite impersonal its easier to be more open online. However this is not sensible. In a face-to-face situation, would you think it a good idea to give a complete stranger your name, address and telephone number without first knowing much about them? Remember that in a Chat Room/Message Board/E-mail it’s very easy for people to pretend and make things up about themselves without you knowing the real truth. If you’re posting a profile, don’t include any info which could help to identify you offline.
3. Be careful not to give away any personal information about other people.
It’s easy to give away private information about other people if you let your guard down. Think carefully about your answer before replying to any questions online, so you don’t compromise someone else’s privacy. Don’t give away any information to someone online which could could help to identify a friend or member of your family offline.
4. If you are under 18, you should NEVER arrange to meet anyone face-to-face whom you’ve ‘met’ on the internet – for any reason. The safest thing always to do is NEVER arrange to meet someone who you’ve ‘met’ online.
If you are an adult and you are determined to meet up with someone, be VERY cautious and be sensible about where you meet – for example NEVER arrange to meet someone in a non-public place and NEVER EVER go on your own. You should also tell other family members/friends where you are going and who you will be with. People with wrong intentions will often spend months building up your trust first, so be on your guard at all times, even if you think you know someone well.
5. Remember, you are in control – let someone know immediately – such as a member of your family – if you are feeling uncomfortable or worried in any way while online or become concerned with the content of e-mails and correspondence.
Keep printed documentation of chats, e-mails and information etc exchanged online. Familiarise yourself with any help facilities that might be at hand – such as ‘alert buttons’ if someone is making you feel uncomfortable. There are many more things you can do too. It’s best to always stay on the public areas of chat rooms and not go private commonly called ‘Whispering’ – Whispering is a way of sending a private message to an individual in a chat room.
For links to more information about keeping safe online, click here.