Read these 3 Chat Room Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Chat tips and hundreds of other topics.
Cybercrime comes in many forms. The most common examples experienced by chatters are threats of computer hacking and stealing or hijacking account information. Many threats are just that - threats. Some chatters may attempt to scare you by showing they have an IP number for your computer. Every computer has an IP address. Every time you visit a web page or send an email you send out your IP address. Knowing this number does not enable someone to hack into your computer. People need special skills and tools to actually hack. Make sure you're running firewall software so your computer is not vulnerable to hacking attempts. You should be able to keep your accounts safe by choosing passwords that only you could know and *never* giving them out to anyone. Reports of cybercrime can be reported at. While threats are taken very seriously, you're not likely to get any immediate relief this way - your best bet, as always, is to protect yourself ahead of time.
Chat safety tips: Chatters in any chat room are not necessarily who they say they are. Just like no one on the internet really knows who you are, you can't know who others are either. People's true identity may have very little to do with their online persona. It's extremely common for chatters to lie about their age, gender, race, and/or sexual identity. Actually, anything another chatter tells you can be fabricated. Many people pose as someone else. This isn't necessarily bad or dangerous in any way. Playing with different identities can be lots of fun, as long as you're not being malicious or really misleading anyone. Be especially careful if you're looking to another chatter for advice of any kind. Remember that they have nothing to lose by lying to you. You may think "well, they have nothing to gain, either," which is true, but there are (unfortunately) lots of unscrupulous people out their who get some kind of thrill from taking advantage of others' trust. As usual, be careful never to give anyone real information about yourself while chatting.
If someone is harassing or following you as you chat online, it is vital that you do not engage them. Most chat software offers a tool that enables you to ignore other chatters. The goal of most harassers is to make you angry or upset. Engaging them in anyway is exactly what they want. Use your common sense.You can better protect your online identity and account information by keeping your passwords private and regularly changing them. If you feel the level of harassment you are experiencing is ruining your ability to chat online it is important that you report the offending chatter to your chat company. Most chat companies have an firstname.lastname@example.org address for you to use. For more extreme cases of abuse go to the cyberangels website to review your options. Finally, if you ever feel that you are in any immediate danger contact your local police department. Many police departments in larger cities across the Western world now have cybercrime units.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.