Who Are You Chatting To?

dreamstime_10003700Unfortunately, the Internet makes it easy for people to give out false information about who they are, for example their age, gender, location, hobbies or interests. There’s a famous cartoon showing that On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, but the ability to hide behind a false identity can have more sinister implications. In particular, people trying to take advantage of children or teenagers will often lie about their age and pretend that they share interests with those they are talking to, so that they can gain their trust.

You may come across things that make you feel uncomfortable when you are chatting to someone, eg: they may push you for personal information, such as your address or mobile number, or they may be reluctant to answer your questions. You should be particularly suspicious of anyone who asks you to keep your chats secret. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable, tell a responsible adult, such as a parent or teacher. If the situation is innocent, no harm will be done, but if it is not, you may protect yourself or someone else from danger.


Next: Guarding Personal Information