Keeping Kids Safe
While we want you to enjoy using PlayDate.com, we are aware that some people may not have your best interest in mind. While in many ways it is similar to the real world where there are both good and bad people, predators on the internet have one distinct advantage. They can conceal their identity. This may cause some people to let their guard down or not feel as threatened. In reality, many innocent people are victims of such predators in cases such as identity theft, child molestation, bullying, and other vicious crimes.
For your safety, we ask that you follow the guidelines listed below while using our site, or any internet use. It is everyone’s responsibility to report internet abuse or suspicious predators. When you get that uncomfortable feeling that something isn’t right, the first thing to do is to stop any further communication and report the incident to your parent or guardian. They in turn, will notify authorities to prevent you or anyone else from becoming a victim.
The tips listed below shed some light on tactics and scams internet predators may use to lure you in. However, be advised that some people can be incredibly sneaky and creative in finding ways to take advantage of you. Protect yourself and be a hero to others who may be vulnerable, naïve, or unaware of a predators sophisticated tactics. Just remember, it’s never too late to get out of a situation. REMEMBER: Even if you blame yourself for inviting or initiating the interaction, you have the power to stop it. No one will be mad at you for having made a mistake (if that’s how you see it) as long as you correct it once you realize that it is wrong.
- People you chat with may NOT necessarily be who they say they are. They may tell you that they are your same age but they may not be. They could try to lure you in by being nice and then try to harm you.
- You do not have to answer emails or IMs from people you don’t know. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. Who knows who they are? Even if they say they’re “Edward’s friend,” Edward could just be a lucky guess.
- Unfortunately, there are predators out there who may want to take advantage of you and you should use extreme caution when talking to anyone online.
- Do NOT give out personal information such as your address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, or the name and location of your school without your parents’ permission.
- Tell your parents right away if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never agree to get together with anyone you “meet” online. Let your parents/guardian know if you’re interested in meeting up with someone and they can make arrangements if they feel it’s appropriate. Even when they feel a meeting is appropriate, be sure that it is in a public place and bring your parent or guardian with you.
- Never send a person your picture or anything else of personal or public content without first checking with your parent or guardian. They may use it against you or have sophisticated tools, which can pinpoint your location.
- Do not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make you feel uncomfortable. It is not your fault if you get a message like that. If you do, immediately tell your parent/guardian right away so that they can notify authorities.
- Talk to your parents so that you may set rules together for going online. This may include, but is not limited to, the time of day that you can be online, the length of time, and appropriate areas for you to visit. Do not access other areas or break these rules.
- Don’t fill out any “fun” questionnaires that are forwarded to you, even if they’re from your friends. Remember, you’re in a world where everything can get forwarded. All those personal things about you could land in the hands of someone who could use them to harm you.
- There’s no such thing as “private” on the Internet. You may think so, but it’s not true. People can find anything they want and keep what you post forever. Immediately tell your parent/guardian if someone tells you to keep your conversation with them private or that it’s a “secret.”
- Be careful about posting pictures of yourself (if you must, don’t post ones showing behavior you wouldn’t want your parents, guardian, teacher, or future boss to see).
- Don’t send pictures of other people. Forwarding an embarrassing picture of someone else is a form of bullying. Follow the “Golden Rule” that if you wouldn’t like someone to do it to you, then don’t do it to them.
- If you are bullied on the Internet, do not respond to the person. Tell your parents about what is happening.
- Don’t download content without your parents’ or guardians’ permission. Many sites have spyware that will damage your computer. Other sites have really inappropriate content. REMEMBER: Your parents can check your computer’s URL history, so you can’t hide where you’ve been.