Online safety and dating

Students from Anglia Ruskin University have produced this article on online safety and dating.

BlackberrySocial networks and online dating are popular ways of meeting new people, however there are people out there, who you may or may not know, who will be looking at you online.

When you are online the question you need to be asking yourself is "would I give this picture or information to a stranger", if the answer is no then it’s simple you don’t put it online. Once you put something online you have lost all control over it, you may attempt to delete it and it may appear deleted but it’s not: it will forever be online. I bet it’s a horrible thought knowing a stranger may have access to your pictures but in the real world it’s happening.

You have probably heard about someone having embarrassing pictures posted online, bullied for something they have posted or even cases where people have met online and when it came to meeting in person it has gone tragically wrong. If you’re reading this and telling yourself "nah this won’t ever happen me", then those people have probably told themselves the exact same thing and you can avoid being in the same situations by following some simple precautions.

Don’t give your personal information out online

Social networking sites ask for information such as your name, school, where you live or your phone number. Do not feel under pressure to give this information and if you do, remember to access the privacy settings and make suitable adjustments so only your friends can see.

Keep your username and password to yourself

There is no reason for you to give your username and password to anyone especially when it means they can access your social networking account and post things that can look bad on you,

Be aware of what you post about yourself and others online

LaptopRemember what you post about yourself and others will stay online for a very long time. That thing you post might be funny at the time but in the future there may be consequences for you or your friends as employers may see it.

Tips for when meeting someone online

  1. Don’t give your personal information as they may not be who they say they are and could possibly find you.
  2. Trust your instincts and inner feelings because if it doesn’t feel right then walk away. For example they may ask a lot of questions about you but are very secretive when it comes to talking about them. Surely this will send your alarm bells ringing!
  3. Do not feel under pressure to meet someone as usually that part will come naturally if it’s meant to happen. When you feel you know them well enough and decide to meet up, you probably won’t want to tell a family member as it’s too embarrassing, but tell a friend and make sure they are aware of your arrangement i.e. who you’re meeting, what time, what place and when you will return.
  4. Make sure you tell who your meeting that it is not a secret and that people are aware of your arrangement to meet, making sure it is in a public place.
  5. Keep your personal belongings with you at all times and in sight and do not consume alcohol therefore you will be fully aware and in control.
  6. Do not stay the night with who you’re meeting and if it is a long distance arrangement then make sure you are staying in a hotel or B&B which only you are aware of and not the person you’re meeting.
  7. Do not get in a vehicle with that person and make your own travel arrangements.

BE SAFE & BE SMART

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