Internet Safety

The internet is really useful for getting information, news and support
pretty much anything you need to know is available. 
You may also be using chat rooms to catch up with your mates
and to chat to other gay men.

But the internet, like any other social place can hold risks. Be careful 
about how much you say about yourself. How well do you really
know the person you’re chatting to? 

The internet can be used for great things from finding out information
about what’s going on in your local area to chatting with people from all
over the world. The internet can also be used negatively. Junk email 
from certain sites can flood your inbox, and some of the information
may be explicit and not something you want others to see. 

There are many sites out there specifically for gay men to chat to each
other. Some of these sites are perfectly innocent and give gay men who
might be isolated the opportunity to get advice and support. Some of the
sites are specifically for gay men to meet each other for sex. 
There is nothing wrong with this but it is important to ensure that you
are safe. Here are some tips on how to look after yourself:

• Do not give out personal information – do you really know who
you are chatting to? Why should you give someone your phone 
number or address? Why would they want it?

• If you do not feel comfortable with a chat, or the person is using
explicit language that you don’t want to hear, end the conversation. 
certain sites it is possible to block people
from knowing when you are online.

• Use a pseudonym – if you put your full name on the internet it is
easier for people to get hold of information about you. 
Use a nickname or a password that only you know.

• Meeting people – If you do arrange to meet a guy you have been
chatting to, arrange the meeting in a public place. Choose somewhere
others will be around like a city centre or shopping centre. If you do 
not feel comfortable it will be easier to get out of the situation.