Internet Friends: Are You Actually Putting Yourself In Danger?
Start writing a post

Internet Friends: Are You Actually Putting Yourself In Danger?

The do's and don'ts of internet friendships.

Internet Friends: Are You Actually Putting Yourself In Danger?
Dani Kawecki

We are taught, starting at a very early age, the dangers of the internet. The biggest rule: don’t talk to people you don’t know. “You have no idea who could be on the other side of the screen. There is no way to know whether or not the person who you are talking to really is who they say they are."

I have had more online friendships than I can even begin to count. However, it makes me unsettled to know that many view these friendships as “illegitimate” due to their beginnings. But what’s so wrong about wanting to find people like me? People who are struggling or have struggled in ways in which I can relate. What is the problem in reaching out to like-minded individuals for guidance and friendship if I am lacking in those areas in my “real life”.

I don’t mean to diminish the legitimacy of online friendships and relationships by referring to an “online life” as the contrary to “real life” because I know for a fact that online relationships have the potential to be just as legitimate as any other. However, I will continue to refer to it as such for a lack of a better term. What I am trying to convey in this article is the safe means in which any person can go about making online friends in a healthy and secure way.

In order to ascertain the identity of a new potential online companion, I have found that an exchange of situation specific photos is helpful. For example, have your friend send you a picture of them (face included) holding a post-it note with the date and time on it. You do the same. Red flag: someone refusing to send such a picture. If they respond with "it's too dark," ask again the next day. Continue to ask until you have either received such a picture or lose hope in ever receiving such a picture from them (I recommend asking a maximum of four times.) If they accuse you of calling them a liar, assure them that this is for your safety and theirs.

Another strategy is checking out their other social media accounts. Ask if they have Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter accounts which you could friend request and follow, respectively. This tactic also allows you to confirm identity. If they do have social media accounts, check them out. Check out profile pictures and usernames. Red flag: if they say they don't have any social media accounts. While yes, there are many people who don't have any social media, I would still be skeptical. Also, if the username and/or picture is not consistent with other information that you've been given, ask for an explanation or the story behind it.

Make sure you ask how they found you and make sure the answer is both plausible and not alarming. Whether you were messaged on Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik Messenger, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, email, a dating site/app, etc. ensure that your information was discovered in a safe and harmless manner. Red flag: if their response is avoidant, defensive or creepy i.e "My friend hooked up with you last summer and said I should give you a go." That example is a definite no-no. Do not stay in touch.

Utilize FaceTime, Skype or Oovoo when communicating. Video-chat is a great way to get to know someone as well as a surefire way to get a more accurate visual of the person who you are talking to.

If you ever plan to meet face to face, make sure you meet in a crowded area i.e. the mall. In this situation, don't leave the premise with that person unless you stay entirely in a widely populated area. This rule of thumb is essential for the first few times you meet in person. It is important to be face to face in order to gauge the nature of the friendship and the extent of your safety. Red flag: if they ask if you want to leave (go back to their place, go somewhere more private, go to their car, etc.) say no! If they ask again or badger you about your decision, be sterner with your response.

Most importantly, take things slowly and don’t be too paranoid. Online friendships are unlike any other type of friendship you will ever encounter. Enjoy them and don’t worry too much. The reality of the matter is online friendships aren’t dangerous, you just have to be careful.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!


The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.


At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments