The social nature of the internet connects people who know each other and offers a way for people to make new friends. But not all these people have good intentions, and the dangers of unwanted contact are on the rise.
What is unwanted contact?
Any type of communication that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened. It can be from online friends or even people you don’t know. Activities such as online grooming and cyber bullying are examples of unwanted online contact. It includes:
- If someone asks you inappropriate or personal questions,
- If someone sends you offensive or obscene materials, or
- If someone asks you to send revealing pictures or do things that make you uncomfortable
How can I prevent unwanted online contact?
- Don’t respond. Leave the site or chat session.
- Block the contact or remove them from your friends list.
- Change your profile settings so that your personal details are kept private.
- Don’t respond to online messages from people you don’t know.
- If there is a threat to your safety, report it to the police.
Tips for parents
Signs that a child may be a victim of online grooming:
- Excessive and secretive computer use
- Late night computer use
- Unusual interest in sexually explicit material
- Receiving gifts from someone you don’t know
- Becoming quiet or distant from family and friends