How to Safely Organise A Meeting With a Person From Social Media
It should be a fun experience when meeting new people. But there are certain risks involved in meeting in person someone you have met online. Here are a few steps on personal safety in these situations.
Don’t put too much personal information on your social networking pages. Too much personal information can mean putting what town you live in, where you go to school, your first and last names, and where you hang out with your friends. The reason you don’t want to put personal information on your social network if if you do, someone who doesn’t know you could find you with the information that you have put online. This could be very dangerous.
Tell a trusted adult (parent/family member/friend) that you intend to meet this person and give them a copy of the details you have received. You’d never know they might know them or their family.
Do a bit of background checking (it’s very easy to be someone else online, no matter how long you’ve known them, you don’t really know them!), search for details online, ask around in school, look in the phone book, etc. You have to get as much information on them as you can, to make sure they are the person they say they are (age, school etc.) You can’t be too cautious.
Call them with an unlisted number, turn your caller ID sending off (remember text messages always give your number). You should call rather than text, to hear their voice. You can tell a lot from someone’s voice. Get to know them over the phone for a while before meeting them. Minimum of two weeks should be enough. Always do the calling.
Arrange to meet somewhere public.Somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Do not meet at their place or yours. You want to do your best to make sure you never meet them again, if things go bad. Tell your parents where you are going, with whom and what time you’ll be done.
Be sure to bring either two or more friends or a trusted adult. They can leave when you want them to and meet you at a set time (pre-arrange this time and stick to it) when you’re done. Stay at that place for the duration of your first meeting. Remember the person you are meeting, if they really are someone you should get to know, will not mind.
Meet them a few times under these circumstances until you are certain they really are the person you’ve gotten to know online, before giving them your details.
Take your time and stay in control, don’t be persuaded to do anything you feel uncomfortable doing, no matter what they say.
If you have any reservations about meeting them, don’t. Always trust your gut feelings. It is extremely important to heed the “Red Flags” that pop up in your mind when you sense or hear something that just does not seem right about the person on the other end.
Avoid drinking alcohol before or during your meeting.
When you talk to them on the telephone, and, after a bit of chit chat, they suddenly start talking about sexual things they are just looking to hook up or could be a sexual predator.
Be wary if they suggest meeting at their place or yours. This is another Red Flag; stop communicating with them immediately. Always meet in a public, neutral place, preferably during the day.
Just make sure you know the risk you are taking, anybody can have a picture of someone and pretend to be someone there not.
Get them on Skype and have a video chat with them so you’re sure who they are, or ask them to take a picture of themselves holding a specific object.
Know who they are, and be aware of their age.
Video chat with them, or if they’re not able to do that, ask for very specific pictures (such as them holding up certain fingers, or touching their knee). If you are friends to the point of wanting to meet them in real life, they should not have reservations about this.
Meeting strangers is dangerous. There is always a chance that they’re not who they say they are.
If they start to follow you take action and let somebody know.
Remember, you would not let a stranger you met in the street into your house. So should you not allow Internet strangers, either.
Never give any of your friends personal details, because this could put your friends into danger as well.