Why Chatting with Strangers on Apps is Risky: How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
March 17, 2017
There’s a growing use of smart phone applications that allow users to chat, find, and add new “friends” The idea of gaining more followers may be appealing, particularly among tweens and teens. But it also provides more opportunity to meet and interact with new people and increase the risk of becoming a target of online predators.
- Before accepting a friend or follow request from a person you have chatted with online, understand that you may be allowing others to view personal aspects of your life.
- Don’t share personal information like your birth date, full name, home address, home/cell number, name of your school, or the location of your work.
- Tell a parent or a trusted adult if you encounter a problem or if something doesn’t feel right – go with your gut.
- Think twice before sharing photos over certain applications. Even if they “disappear” in a matter of seconds, someone can take a screenshot or may try to pass it on without you even knowing it.
- Have a discussion with your children about online risks and avoiding strangers. Talk about possible risks, how to know when something isn’t “right,” and what is considered appropriate behaviour.
- Establish a family agreement for online and app use.
It’s important to remember that the apps themselves are not usually dangerous. It’s the misuse of apps that can cause serious harm and put you or your children at risk.
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