Let’s face it, eve-teasing and other forms of harassment are no longer restricted to real life and have followed women onto their online social space. At some point of our social networking life, we’ve all received a “lets be fraands” request and bad grammar aside, these online creeps are swarming all over the place, looking for easy bait. As women, we’re ever so wary of them in real life, so why not be the same online?
Here are some basic precautions to keep safe from online creeps:
- Trust your instincts -
Whether you meet people online or offline, listen to what your gut instinct tells you about them. If you get a bad feeling about interacting with them, or they seem untrustworthy or devious to you, stay away.
Hint: Messages that start with “Hey sexy…”
- Don’t get carried away -
Every woman wants someone to tell her she looks beautiful every day. Cyber creeps are often smooth talkers who know exactly what to say to gain a woman’s trust and attention. Don’t let your guard down, not even if he whispers sweet nothings and dedicates Lionel Ritchie songs to you!
- Secure your accounts -
Social networking sites offer numerous options to make your account more secure like allowing you to choose a certain audience for a certain post, restricting who can send you friend requests and messages, etc. Use them.
- Arm yourself with virtual pepper spray -
Familiarize yourself with the social network’s mechanisms to deal with online creeps. Learn how to report abuse so that such accounts can be banned or penalized.
- Don’t befriend people who aren’t even remotely known to you -
Unless you’re the type to strike up conversations with strangers on a regular basis, don’t accept or send friend requests to people you’ve never met in real life.
- Don’t hesitate to block people, use colour codes -
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for it, so don’t feel guilty if you have to block/unfriend people you think are not worthy of making it to your friend list.
- Safeguard your Personal information -
Would you go around giving people on the street your phone number or showing them your tattoo? Of course not! Be careful when you post important information online as it can be misused by identity thieves and cyber stalkers. Share only as much information as you would with people in real life.
- Think before you post -
Don’t give out your location carelessly, because you will have handed a creep a roadmap to you. If you are checking-in on Foursquare, restrict the audience who can view this update. Don’t say things like, “Buzzed at XYZ nightclub” or “Home alone watching Simpsons”. Don’t make yourself vulnerable. Even Kevin McCallister was smarter!
- Don’t rush into meeting people you’ve met online -
Lastly, don’t agree to meet someone you’ve just chatted with a couple of times online, especially if they seem very persuasive and eager. Take the time to get to know a person before you agree to a meeting, and when you do, make sure it’s in a public space, with a friend tagging along.
And for the next time you receive a creepy message, how about responding with a “No thanks, I already have plenty of Fraands, k thanx bye!”
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