Ahh, the online blogosphere—such a magical place! In this day and age, you can practically do anything with the help of the internet. You can order a pizza, find how-to videos, and even make a few friends along the way. Now, there are certain rules to follow when striking up a conversation with strangers online and it’s important to keep these in mind; remember safety always comes first! While chatting up a stranger may seem new and exciting, we want to make sure that you stay safe and have fun at the same . Here are a few dos and don’ts of chit-chatting with strangers online.
1. Never, ever EVER share your personal information with a stranger. This includes your home address, your phone number, the school you attend and your last name! When typing away in your computer, it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to tell your new friend all about yourself. Keep the personal details on the down low and instead talk about fun hobbies or the latest episode of The Good Wife. Is Alicia really over Will? Hmm…
2. Don’t download anything from anyone you don’t know. Whether it’s a file, a photo or a video, downloading strange things can lead to bizarre computer viruses or even a potential hack. Remember, you never really know who you are talking to just by looking at a computer screen name, so downloading anything is an absolute NO.
3. Don’t feel obligated to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable or scared. Don’t forget that chatting online is supposed to be fun! If a topic doesn’t sit well with you, leave the chat immediately. Keep in mind that you are always in control. Under no circumstances should you feel forced to talk about anything inappropriate.
4. And finally, don’t post a personal picture of yourself. If “Stranger Sally” is asking what you look like, time to put up the red flag. It is never necessary for someone to know what you look like; signs like these can turn creepy real quick.
1. While there are some weirdos out there, let’s not forget that most people are friendly! If you find someone who likes the same restaurants as you or who is also obsessed with Gilmore Girls then feel free to talk the night away! Just keep the conversation light and about your common interests.
2. Do stay open-minded and listen carefully. Maybe someone needs a friend and you could be that friend. Sometimes gabbing with strangers can turn into a close bond or just another person you can turn to for a laugh.
3. Try to find chat rooms that reflect your personal tastes and interests. There are tons of fun blogs and messaging apps that are specific to certain activities, like cooking. Perhaps you could find a killer risotto recipe! Or the best brownie mix. By keeping your chats specific, it’s easy to create friendships.
4. Always listen to your gut. 99.9% of the time, your gut will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when something doesn’t feel right? That’s your gut. You know that feeling of excitement that fills your entire body? That’s also your gut. Your gut is looking out for you, and you’d be surprised with how accurate your gut can be. Pay attention to how your body responds to certain people online.
See? Talking to strangers online doesn’t always have to be a nightmare. By following these dos and don’ts, engaging with someone you don’t know can be a cool experience and can lead to a possible friendship! These guidelines are to make sure that you stay safe in the wacky, wonderful world of the internet.