Online Stranger Danger
You may have heard of the term “Stranger Danger” at some point in your life. We may think of specific scenarios relating to that term where we’re taught as children not to follow a random person when they ask to you to come with them. We may know not to go into a random person’s car after they tell you they know your parents and tell you to hop in with them. We also may know not to accept gifts from strangers as well. There are many different scenarios we can go about when thinking of the term “Stranger Danger”. However, there are even more scenarios involving potential dangers with a stranger than you think. This can definitely happen online or in person and not just a risk to younger kids. This is a risk to people of all ages. Let’s talk about Cyber Safety!
Sometimes we’re very social when we meet new people. We also may like to appreciate the attention we can get. What has picked up very quickly in the past few years is online dating. Dating can be a big part of our lives, especially online dating, where 2 people meet online and instant message or virtual call each other back and forth. It’s one of the most popular ways to meet a potential partner. What most people don’t know is the potential risks it takes to meet someone, especially online. We may have heard of or used Tinder, Hinge, Match.com, or Bumble dating apps and more. Yes, they can be fun when finding new people and getting to know them, but do people really know the risks that come with online dating?
Some of the following risks of online dating can be:
- Catfishing: Some people you meet in person may not look exactly how they look online. They could obtain fake attractive photos from online websites and make fake dating profiles to lure people in. This could be physical features and age! Risk factors within this situation could include people who could be potential sex offenders, kidnapping, and assault. Be aware that if there is anything skeptical about the photos strangers use, where it could be too attractive like a supermodel photo, it’s likely going to be a scam! Be sure to video chat with them to make sure they are who they are!
- Potential Theft Scams: Many people online can phish for personal information such as financial information, your location details, personal details and more! Don’t give out any personal information of any sort!
- Blackmail: Many people can extort one using their personal information. As being said, do not share any personal information whether that could be personal photos, financial information, something embarrassing etc.
- Money scams: There will be some scammers that could ask for money. It’s very common for people to do after gaining a person’s trust online. Do not give your money to anyone you barely know!
It is super important for everyone of all ages to recognize the potential dangers one can go through when online dating. That’s why cyber security is super important in order to safely and responsibly utilize internet technologies and knowing how to stop yourself from not giving out your personal information to someone you don’t know online. It’s also super important to know what positive preventable approaches to take when encountering a stranger online. Anything skeptical in terms of the person not showing their face on webcam, the person having suspicious online photos, or asking for personal information. Trust your instincts and take the right approach!
Some of the main online preventable approaches can be:
- Say NO!
- Video chat before you meet the individual in person!
- Do not respond to requests for financial help
- Don’t give your personal information until you know you officially trust them. Trust your gut!
- Block anyone who may be suspicious or makes you uncomfortable
Some of the main in person preventable approaches can be:
- If you are meeting with the person from online, tell a friend or family member where you’re going
- Meet them in a public place
- Do not rely on the individual for transportation, have someone you’re close with take you
- Trust your instincts!
This post was written by Rosalina, an intern at Immunize Nevada.
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