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Internet Safety 101: E-mail, Message Boards, Instant Messaging, and Chat Rooms

As e-Buddies participants, we all have experience with meeting new people over the Internet. Through e-mail, message boards, instant messengers, and chat rooms, each of us can reach out and communicate with all kinds of new and interesting people from all over the world. Ainít technology grand?

As fun and fulfilling as this can be, there are some risks that must be considered. This includes, but is not limited to, viruses, spyware, phishing scams, identity theft, and Internet predators.

Does this mean that you should stop using e-mail or visiting your favorite message boards? Definitely not, but please be sure to take these basic steps to ensure that your online experience is both fun AND safe!

  • Donít give out any personal identifying information to people that you donít know and trust! This includes your real name, mailing addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and passwords.
  • Who is reading what you type? Be careful how much personal information you reveal. Even if you are talking to a trusted friend on a public message board or in a public chat room, everyone else in the chat room or on the message board can read what you are saying.
  • Be careful when opening files! Unless you are expecting them, donít open any file attachments or transfers from anyone, even trusted sources. If you receive an attachment from a source that you donít trust, delete it immediately.
  • Donít set up meetings! Never arrange a meeting with someone who you have just met and know only through the Internet. Try to keep your communications online and anonymous, if possible.


Have an e-Buddies tech question? Send questions or comments to Bill Maurer at

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