Chatting Without Risk – What to Look For

In our ever-connected world, phone chatting has become a staple for a medium of communication that is globally used. The rapid growth of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has only strengthened the pervasiveness of chatting – and the result is most usually phone chatting (the most personal level of it). This phenomenon has truly transformed certain aspects of our relationships with others whether it is work, friends, family, and significant others. Nevertheless, every phenomenon has its flaws, but one should be reminded of certain tips to follow to avoid these:

• Set parameters to what is acceptable conversation chatter and what is not.

In a recent survey, 40 percent of divorces were blamed on inappropriate chatting. The blame was nearly equal for both genders, since 55 percent of men and 45 percent of women were found to flirt online that crossed certain limits. Therefore, one should always state when he or she is uncomfortable when chatting with someone if one feels that it would jeopardize a relationship.

• If you are a parent, monitor your child’s conversations personally

It is no surprise that the fastest-growing areas for cybercrimes are in chat rooms and directly related to further phone chatting. Most children may not be able to tell whether someone is genuine or fake, which is used by predators since 80 percent of cybercrimes start with chatting. Make sure one’s child knows the difference between a real and fake identity and what words or phrases during a chat or conversation may signify that they are chatting with a predator. The point is – it’s okay for your child to have friends that he talks on the phone with – regardless of where he met them (on the internet or in real life) the point is that once in a while you should go through their phones and figure out whether something is wrong or not.

Now, the one major rule for chatting without risks is to be careful when handing out your phone number. The point is, this is an online world we live, and it is important to locate the root of the problem and then work our way up. In this case, the selection process begins with finding the appropriate website and the appropriate people to hand out our phone number to. This will ensure that you will not cross the chat-border with the wrong kind of people. How can you avoid this? Here are some more tips:

• If one is chatting with someone for romantic reasons, go to a reliable dating website.

Try to find a free dating website. If it gives the impression of a fraud, then try a dating website that is free but has some paid services. One survey has stated that as many half of all free dating websites are scams, so be careful by consulting the Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s website at http://www.bbb.org to see if any paying websites are scams and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s website at http://www.ftc.gov to see if any dating sites are being investigated by the federal government.

• Do not use your e-mail address as your profile ID or nickname if creating an online dating profile. Try to create a new email ID when creating an account on the website.

The Internet is an “information superhighway” full of scammers and frauds. Using one’s e-mail address as an ID opens up one to spam attacks and unsolicited e-mails. If one has to use an e-mail address for an ID, create an e-mail address that you will not use for any activities pertaining to school, work, and et cetera.

• Do not use a common password (such as a birthday, bank password, or an e-mail password used for multiple accounts) for your chatting account.

If a hacker notices a certain password used for multiple accounts, he or she will use it for one’s other accounts in order to steal valuable information. If one feels that he or she will lose his or her password, then record it and store it in a safe place.