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Keeping Safe Online

 
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wolfbane
A frozen shard of memory


Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 7436
Location: South Wales

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Keeping Safe Online Reply with quote

We've all heard horror stories about the internet, and while some of these are blown out of proportion it's still a good idea to keep yourselves safe.

We try to run Scar Tissue as best we can but it's not always easy to know when someone's saying they're someone they're not. It can be very easy to feel comfortable here quickly, given what we talk about on the board, so keeping safe can sometimes slip to the backs of our minds.

Whenever or wherever you post on ST, try and remember that anyone, anywhere in the world, can read it. While you do need to be a registered member to post on ST, we have no way of vetting those who join so some element of trust is required. Most of our members are genuine, but some may not be.

Somebody claiming to be gay and asking questions about people's experience of homosexuality may actually be a straight person who gets a kick out of hearing about it. Somebody claiming to be a teenage girl may actually be a man in his late 50s. Someone claiming to have experience of counselling those who self harm might actually be someone with no experience who wants to hear about it. There are people who see ST as an easy source of targets and who will try to obtain your personal information for their own purposes. Some people may also join ST to spy on people they know in real life.

Before I scare you all of posting, I have to say that these situations are few and far between. In the six years I've been on ST I can think of probably 2 or 3 cases where people haven't been who they've seemed, and usually it's someone an ST member knows in real life. But we can't screen everyone who joins and we want to encourage all of you to be careful when you post here. Here are some ways to help keep yourself safe:

Don't use your real name in your user name.

Don't use real/full names in posts about people: use an initial. "M said this, so H did that", or use descriptive terms like "best friend said" and "cute guy did". If someone who knows you happens to come on the board they won't guess you're you on the basis of the names/initials.

Don't use full names, addresses, school emails, telephone numbers, etc. in posts. I can't stress this enough.

Think carefully before posting pictures. Do you want the whole world to know what you look like? What if someone you know in real life joins and sees it? If you post a picture, double check where you're hosting it. Remember anyone can right-click a pic and get the URL from the properties so don't post pictures from your family website and make sure that people can't see all other photos you've hosted in the same place. It may be worth creating a new photo-site account just for ST. Photobucket and Flickr are two sites which you can host photos on.

Think carefully about the information you post on ST. One post on its own may not give out a lot of information but put several together and you may be easily identifiable. If one post notes that you're based in Wales, another talks about how you live on an island and there's nothing to do or the bridge to the mainland gets really packed in summer, and another talks about your studies and how you've been working on perfecting a flying tackle then it becoms quite easy to figure out that you're attending the Anglesey School of Rugby, and from there to figure out exactly which student you are.

Be careful if you meet other ST members. PM someone your phone number only if you need to for arrangements for meeting up - but only if YOU feel comfortable doing so. We would never recommend that you meet someone on a one-to-one basis - meet in a group or take someone you know and trust with you.

If you have met other ST members have take pics, pleaes make sure that member is happy for you to post them.

Be wary of IMing or MSNing people. Try to use an anonymous IM address and think twice before IM-ing with somebody you don't know really well. IM or MSN may be more convenient than PMs, but it's less safe. It's not monitored and because it's a more direct and immediate it's easier for people to pressurise you or manipulate you. If somebody asks to IM you and you don't know them well, ask yourself why they're asking to IM rather than PM.

Be a little bit cynical. Trust people, take them at face value, try to help them, make friends...but always remember they that they might not have your best interests at heart. The most important bit of information I can give is listen to your instincts. It's okay to be wary of somebody and it's ok to say "sorry, I don't want to talk any more" or "sorry, I don't want to tell you that." This is the internet and you can walk away at any time.

If someone makes you uneasy at all, contact me or Ali straight away and tell us why. You may not feel that you've got much to go on, but a couple of different people's comments can add up to something worth investigating. We may already have suspicions but not yet have enough proof to take action. Your input helps keep ST safe, and that's the way we want it to stay.

We have a textual confirmation system so that hopefully we avoid most of the spambots, but sometimes they get through. They normally post a link to a website which is usually either selling something or is porn-related. If you see something like this don't click the link - report it to an admin and leave it. It's possible that you could pick up a virus/spyware from the link.

If a member *ever* PMs you and says they used to be here under name X but now they're name Y tell them to talk to an admin. Usually members who rejoin post, telling us who they used to be. If they don't seem to be admitting to being person X on the public boards, if you're suspicious, or if they left without warning contact an admin for them to check. People can sometimes create new accounts to get round bans we have placed on them and as we don't ban anyone without a good reason, it's important we don't let them stay here under a different name.

You can find some more information on staying safe online here: www.thinkuknow.co.uk and here: www.getsafeonline.org. Please check them out and make sure you stay safe.
_________________



~ When we walk to the edge of all light we have, and take a step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things will happen - there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly. ~


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wolfbane
A frozen shard of memory


Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 7436
Location: South Wales

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pheonix came across some stuff online that she thought might be helpful to put in our note for keeping safe. The links are informative, especially the first which talks about keeping safe on forums and messageboards. I'd definitely urge you to check them out.

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/support-groups-2581-143.html

http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/chronic/faking.html
_________________



~ When we walk to the edge of all light we have, and take a step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things will happen - there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly. ~


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