While people have benefited a lot from using the internet over the years, there have also been some cases of people who have been victimized and fallen prey to malicious people. There is a lot of danger that lurks on the internet especially on online chats.
Text chatting with strangers on the internet in most cases can seem enticingly fun and harmless and can help you pass time but you ought to be very careful. If you are in a vulnerable frame in mind especially ensure that you keep your guard up and be very careful what you share with strangers.
The good news though is that there are alternatives out there that are safe to chat with strangers like support groups and online counseling. These platforms allow you to chat with people and express what you are feeling without being judged and you will not be taking too much risk.
The danger of online chats
Predators target kids
Online chats can be quite engaging especially for the younger generations and underage kids. There are many sexual predators who take advantage of this fact to actively engage them and entice them with all sorts of things including real-life situations. The predators are aware of how desperate people are to get an online friend to talk to and take advantage of this through easy conversations.
Fraudsters are always on the internet actively looking for important information such as emails, names, financial data, and locations. They usually target unsuspecting victims to get that access. They use phishing scams where they can have bogus emails or web sites that look legit and design them to entice users into sharing or revealing their personal information.
Excessive sharing of personal information
The anonymity of online chats can sometimes encourage people to want to share their problems in the hope that they will get assistance. People may choose to vent online about their everyday problems since they are getting a false sense of security. The online atmosphere is usually so encouraging and members open up a lot which is a security risk and confidentiality risk. On the internet, people could be recording what you are saying or taking screenshots of the information you are giving out to use to manipulate you in the future.
There is a lot of cyberbullying that goes on on the internet. Online chats tend to produce a lot of crowd mentality and the power of numbers and being anonymous. As such, people who have an unpopular belief from the rest can easily become victims of other members with contrary opinions. The conversations online can even lead to one receiving threatening emails, harassments, blog rants and this could be the case even in real life as a result of that. If for instance, you had shared some personal details like your location then people online can even use that information to access you and harm you.
Tremendous waste of time
Whereas there some advantages of online chats, most of them can lead to a lot of wasted time. You can easily be doing online chats and before you know it so many hours have passed by without even doing something constructive with your time. The time spent on computers or on mobile chatting away with strangers usually takes away time for real-life activities such as time with family or outdoor time. In some extreme scenarios, this usually turns out to be an addiction.
Recommendations to avoid online chats dangers
Avoid sharing personal data
No matter how convinced you are that the person you are chatting with online is legit, avoid sharing anything too personal. Do not share passwords, email addresses, location, bank details with someone you met online and do not know in real life.
Use technology to protect yourself
There is some software one can install for example VPN that will definitely protect you from online chats. VPN encrypts your data so that third parties cannot be able to access them. Also, VPNs such as IP Vanish will hide your IP address and location and hence it will be very hard for hackers or cybercriminals to know your locality. There is a variety of VPNs you can use to give you high-level security but you can check out the IPVanish review prepared by VPNpro to give you more insight.
Report anything malicious
Usually, if your instinct is not right about someone you are chatting with online, stop contacting the person. Most times you will get some red flags and in that case, always report. If anything looks malicious to you always report. This will help you avoid the dangers that lurk on the internet early enough and you can also end up saving someone else who could have become the next victim.
As much as the internet can be a great networking opportunity and many people have made lifelong friends, it can also be a dangerous place. One needs to take a lot of precautions to avoid getting into lots of trouble.
Although it can be a platform where you feel you are getting immense support for your emotional problems, always know that due to the anonymity of the internet, people are not always honest and can be out there to get you.