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Online dating is also a form of social networking. Like any internet tool though, social networking can be used for harmful or criminal purposes. Take some sensible precautions. What are the benefits and risks of Social Media? Social networking sites create a feeling of community. This can be positive or negative depending on the nature of the community created.

Since users access these sites from their own homes, they can sometimes forget that the internet is really a public space. This means they can be tempted to share more information than is sensible or safe, or to act in ways they may not do normally. What basic steps should I take? Limit the amount of personal information you make available online such as your address and date of birth, even more so if it may provide a hint as to your password - even to friends.

What precautions should I take when sharing information on Social Networking sites? Who you want to chat to. What you want to say. Which pictures you upload. Remember, even if it feels private, the internet is really a public space. Once you put a message or an image online, it will be there in some form forever, even if you delete it.

Remember that there is always a chance someone else will see their information and not everyone online is honest. Something you think is funny might not seem funny to others. What seems like a harmless joke in private may embarrass or humiliate someone in public. Remember - the click of a button makes your information publicly known worldwide and only you can control who sees this. When posting using an app with this feature enabled, your location is accurately pinpointed on the apps virtual map, posing a potential risk.

We recommend all parents and guardians take some time to talk to their children and young people about the risks associated with revealing your location via social media apps. Discuss their phone and app security settings and encourage them to check them on a regular basis. If they are meeting friends, encourage them to use private messaging or text messages to make the arrangements.

While they may think only their friends can see this information, it can be inadvertently shared and expose youngsters to people who wish them harm. Do this regularly as trends change and young people may use multiple apps to communicate and socialise. This includes posting anything that promotes crime, violence or drug misuse. This also includes threats made against you, or attempts to force you to pay money or do something to prevent your personal information or images being posted elsewhere on the internet or forwarded to others.

This activity is often linked to footage taken using webcams, known as Online Webcam Extortion Anything put online can be traced even if false details are used. What is online Webcam Extortion? Webcam Extortion is a term given to demands being made for monies or other favours, which involve the use of a chat application, the internet and a webcam.

The victim is then threatened, being warned that images or personal information will be made public unless favours are undertaken or money is paid. This type of criminality can affect young and old, male and female alike. These images could be used to extort money. The opposite is true. The more you give in to them, the more they demand. It is important to report incidents where you are the victim of online extortion.

Victims should contact Police Scotland on or in an emergency. How do I report abuse on Social Networking sites?

If you become aware of anyone promoting illegal activity or behaving in a threatening manner, report it to the service provider and also to the Police by dialling If you think you are the victim of a crime, are being threatened for money or any other purpose, or someone is in immediate serious danger, contact the police. Is it safe to use online dating sites? Dating sites are becoming an increasingly common way for people to meet but there are some important things to remember in addition to our advice about using any social media: Some users masquerade as someone they are not; with the aim of financially or sexually exploiting site users or their families.

I remember this one lady, I did a search on her name and found out where she lived. I told her I used to go there with my mum and could describe what some of the buildings looked like. I had enough details to make the story believable. I created a good story and stuck with it. She believed it all. After a while, I could tell she was falling for me. When I felt the time was right, I went for the big one. She emptied most of her savings account for me. After I got my money, I deleted the profile and just moved on to the next one.

Convictquotes How can I help protect myself when using dating sites? Choose your forum carefully. Protect your privacy look at our general advice about safe internet surfing. Be careful if you do decide to meet somebody in person.

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