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How to Protect Your Safety When Chatting Online

Chatting online is a great way to meet new people and hopefully someday find someone you connect with more on a personal level. Whether you are looking for casual acquaintances, dating, or a long-term relationship, it is important that you also keep your own safety and security in mind. Here are some safety tips to follow whenever you chat online.

Avoid People Who Ask For Personal Information Immediately

You probably already know that giving out personal information is a big no-no in chat rooms and other online chatting scenarios, but sometimes these people can be very subtle. They might first ask how your day was, then when you mention you went to college or your job, they casually ask where you work or where you go to school. These questions might seem subtle, but they are still asking you for personal information you should not give out. Some people need only basic personal information to track you down, so be very careful what you say in the beginning until you believe you can trust them.

Block People You Don't Trust

When you are chatting with people online, whether in a chat room or through a private messaging feature on a dating app, use your instincts. There may be someone who isn't necessarily hounding you for personal information, but something about them makes you uncomfortable. You don't need to ignore these feelings you have, regardless of why you feel this way. Any time someone makes you feel uneasy, use the blocking feature so they can no longer contact you or see your activity on the dating website or app.

Be Careful When Choosing Photos

If you are chatting through a dating website instead of a generic online chat room, you will probably want to upload pictures of yourself. When you do this, make sure you are very careful about what photos you use. While it is okay to use your own picture in certain settings and on secure websites, make sure you pay close attention to the background of the picture. Never upload a picture that was taken outside your work, school, or in your front yard. Someone dishonest might be able to use the scenery to figure out where you work or live. Also be careful not to take the picture in front of your car or post a group picture with your friends, who might not want it to be seen by people you chat with.

Always Meet in Public

As a general rule, never meet someone in your own home, or in theirs. If you decide to meet someone and see if you have chemistry, meet first in a public place. Bring someone with you if you are still uncertain about the safety of that public place.