Safe Meeting of Online friends

The whole thing about the internet is that it is safe. The press yells at us that it isn't. Parents believe the press and say "the internet is not safe!" But it is. It's a sanitised medium where every individual is totally safe.

What isn't safe is arranging a meeting when you have no idea what you are doing to protect yourself. In fact there are a few things that are definitely not safe:

OK, that isn't a definitive list, but it's a start. I'm not saying "don't do these", well except the criminal one. What I am saying is "think before you do any". By the way, Products like Word identify you in the document you send by email. So, if you have that identity stuff in your PC, look at "Document properties" and see what it says about you. Then decide what to send.

Why do I care so much about protecting yourself online?

That is dead simple. You are a nice, good, decent, honest person. Most of us are. Very few people are downright nasty, and fewer still mean us harm. But you are here, on a gay site, and you are probably a minor. And all minors, gay or straight, need to protect themselves from predators, male and female, more than adults do. It is just one of those things.

You can not protect your heart. Falling in love online is an easy thing to do. And having your heart broken online is just as easy. So, just know that not everyone is as they seem, and that some have "unlovable characteristics" when up close and personal.

Which leads us to meeting.

There is not much point in a friendship which does not result in a meeting. Well there just isn't. However much fun it is to chat online, a meeting is the icing on the cake. And, to be fair, everyone wants to meet someone they like a lot.

So, how do we keep safe when we want to meet?

Golden Rules is how:

The Golden Rules can't protect you if you are stupid, and they are not a fail safe anyway. But they mean you are not going to be taken by surprise. And having a friend watch over you means you have security.

I've met a huge number of people in real life whom I met online first. I can say I have had no bad meetings. But that is just my good luck. I am as bad a judge of character as anyone, and online I've made a few bad mistakes. Online. Where it is totally safe to meet people because you never meet them except on your own terms.