• Internet Safety

    Introduction

    We at UKHippy take the safety of our members very seriously; while we endeavor to protect people as much as we can, we cannot guarantee your safety when meeting anyone from the Internet - We do not vet our members, so who you chat to or arrange to meet is very much at your own risk.

    The following advice has been put together by one of our members as a guide to playing safe on the net; it is not conclusive and should not be treated as definitive. It is simply a list of suggestions to help you not to fall foul of the few who could cause you harm.

    The Internet and your safety

    We use the internet for all kinds of reasons - shopping, information, friendship, entertainment, banking, work etc. and the list gets longer every day. It has become so much part of our lives that we sometimes forget that, not only can it be used as a powerful tool to make our lives easier and more fun, it can also be used by some people to steal, cheat and lie. This is just a small guideline on how to not fall foul of those people.

    Take care what you post on open forums

    Remember that open forums can be viewed by the whole World Wide Web. That means that anything you type onto those boards is able to be read by your boss, mother, father, lover, sister, brother, local criminal - Everyone! Also, itís not just available today. Itís there for a mighty long time.


    Before you hit that post/submit/reply button ask yourself "Am I sure I want the whole world to know this about me?" and "By posting this am I giving away any information about myself or friends and family that someone can use in a questionable way?"

    Please note that some of the forums and features are restricted to members only - but this does not mean you can automatically trust your privacy will never be breached by other members.


    Think before you submit any information!

    Information gathered on forums can be used in many ways

    • ID theft, fraud and privacy abuse
    • cyber bullying, cyber stalking and harassment
    • sexual predators, con artists and sexual exploitation

    You donít want to become a victim of any of those so take care what you post.

    Common ways people gather info on you are from introductions, chat games, profiles and from in-depth discussion/help forums.

    Introductions need to have as little concrete information about you as possible. Donít name schools/universities or workplaces you attend/ have attended. Donít tell people exactly where you grew up or were born, donít give out your full name, address, telephone number etc. All these facts can be used to build a picture of you for ID theft or harassment.

    Chat games are an easy way to fool people into telling you things that otherwise they would not tell you. ID thieves have been known to use these.

    Have you ever played the find your porn star name game before - the one where you put the name of your first pet with your motherís maiden name? Well one of the most used questions in banking for security is ďWhat was your motherís maiden name?Ē What about the game that asks you for your full name to work out what you real Hippy name is or the one that works out your Pirate name? Do you see where this is all going?

    When you are in an in-depth discussion try not use people and places in your real life as examples to put weight behind your argument. This just gives out way too much info about you that can all be used by someone if they are that way inclined. Help and advice sections on boards can also be used by some to make profiles of you. The type of person you are can be seen very easily. Vulnerable people making posts asking for help may not realise that they are letting themselves become targets for people wishing to exploit their particular weakness.

    Just be aware that most of the people that read what you write on an open forum are not people you know in real life. At best they are cyber friends and at worst they are random strangers that you donít even know are reading. They could be collating information on you.

    Be careful who you give telephone numbers, email addresses and personal details to. NEVER give out your home address/phone number to cyber friends. Unless you know someone in real life as well as online they are just cyber friendsí not real friends.

    Choosing to meet people from the internet

    If you decide to meet someone that you have only ever spoken to on the net you need to be aware of a few things. Not everyone is who they seem to be.

    1. That person that has told you they are a 17 year old girl may turn out to be a balding fat 56 year old man with a whole different agenda from the one they told you they had.
    2. The 56 year old balding man you talked to on line might be honest about being 56, fat and balding, but they might still have a whole other agenda to meeting you than the one they told you on line.
    3. Just because they seem nice online, does not mean they are not really a raving lunatic that wants to dig your heart out with a blunt spoon and eat it.
    4. If the person seems too good to be true, they probably are too good to be true.
    5. Even if this person is not 56 years old and balding, this does not mean that they are safe - Someone young and female could also be potential trouble.

    So how can we safely meet someone from the net for the first time?


    • Arrange to meet in a very public place. Never agree to meet at their home or your home, preferably meet them when it is still daylight


    • Take someone with you, preferably a big tall body builder. If you canít find a body builder a responsible friend or relative will do.


    • Always have a charged working mobile phone with you. Make sure it has credit if it is a pay as you go.


    • Tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting and what time you will be back.


    • Arrange your own transport to the meeting and have a way of leaving if it all goes wrong.


    • Never accept a lift from the person you are meeting up with. Have a local taxi firm number ready in your phone.


    • If they have a car then take a note of their registration and be seen to text it to someone. If they are genuine they should not object to you doing this.


    • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, get up and leave. Don't walk away, call a taxi to pick you up, even if it only has to drive you 2 streets away. It stops the person from being able to follow you.


    • Donít leave the public place with the person to go ďsomewhere better to talkĒ.


    • Do not get drunk/stoned etc.


    • Leave a contact number with the person expecting you back home. That way they can call you if they are worried about you not arriving home.


    • If you feel any way in danger at anytime in the meet and you feel you cannot safely get away call 999 or 112 and ask for help.


    • Make sure you have enough money/credit etc to get home. Do not miss the last bus or train.


    • Do not have sex at a first meeting. You never know what the consequences will be. However, if you do decide to have sex make sure you use a condom.


    • Have a back up plan - One idea would be to get a friend to call you to "come home quickly because of an emergency", it may take the pressure off of leaving if you are feeling awkward.

    Most of these are common sense, but we sometimes forget to do these things when our guard is lowered because we think we know this person from all the online chatting.

    Remember a person you have never met in real life and have only talked to online isnít yet a real friend. They are just a cyber friend.

    None of this is to say they wonít be just who they said they are on-line, and that you wonít form a strong real life friendship. All of this is just being cautious because sadly out there on the World Wide Web there are some arseholes that sneak up on you pretending to be your friend to get whatever they want from you.

    Remember it can take a fair few meetings to really find out their true colours so follow the above advice until you are satisfied you really know them. Do not always trust your instincts, but if you have a bad feeling about someone there is probably a reason for it.

    Donít fall victim to those evil few.

    Comments 12 Comments
    1. julianthegypsy's Avatar
      julianthegypsy -
      Very useful, even for a seasoned net user.
    1. Atomik's Avatar
      Atomik -
      Can't take the original credit for it. Forget who put it together, tbh. We used to have it on a separate page, so I've just moved it over to the article system.
    1. julianthegypsy's Avatar
      julianthegypsy -
      I hadn't even thought about those games that translate your name into pirate or whatever...
    1. Tordisa's Avatar
      Tordisa -
      Thankyou Atomik; good stuff. I think too, that if people choose not to publicise their specific location, it's really not on for others to reveal it on an open forum.
      Please think peeps, and don't do it. You could be putting someone at risk by doing so.

      peace x
    1. starpoi's Avatar
      starpoi -
      I think it was skully. Not sure though as I can't open articles on my phone.
    1. boko-maru's Avatar
      boko-maru -
      Definitely a good article. And a good reminder not just for newbies, but those of us who have been online for awhile.
      It can be very easy to feel safe with someone online but not actually be safe in real life when you meet them.

      I second what Tordisa said, about not disclosing locations if someone hasn't already done so. Same goes for names.
    1. campertess's Avatar
      campertess -
      precisly why my location is "under theoleoak tree"
      those who need to know ,know, n thoaewho dont ,dont.
      well thas the plan anytway..


      good article...certainly makes you think eh
    1. stirlingb's Avatar
      stirlingb -
      We all think we know how to keep safe on line however the suggestions on how to keep safe puts the problem in perspective. I (and more importantly my kids) can learn a lot from the article.

      As I am 56ish (actually 55) and not exactly skinny I can now understand why people treat me with caution!!!!
    1. Atomik's Avatar
      Atomik -
      Frankly, the mood I'm in where the internet is concerned, they can take the whole fucking sordid lump of it and flush it down the crapper. It ain't a safe place for kids and nothing we can do can make it any safer. I think we've let a genie out of the bottle and we haven't got the first clue how to control it.
    1. mybodymyself's Avatar
      mybodymyself -
      Thanx for the reminder on this.
    1. bertsminky's Avatar
      bertsminky -
      wow i hope no fat, balding, 56 year old men read this...they might get awfully offended.
      i think the best advice is to stop and think first.
      maybe type forum responses into a notepad first and sleep on it before making an actual reply, let your sub-conscious mind mull it over rather than acting too quickly, waiting another ten or twelve hours wont make any difference.
    1. Atomik's Avatar
      Atomik -
      Quote Originally Posted by bertsminky View Post
      wow i hope no fat, balding, 56 year old men read this...they might get awfully offended.
      i think the best advice is to stop and think first.
      Gosh. My heart bleeds.
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