Hello, hello! For the rest of this month we will be posting a series of "PSAs of the Day". Public Service Announcements that help educate members about community policies and helpful information! Since it's a new year, it'll be useful to bring these up and refresh everyone's memories. :) Today's PSA is about being SAFE on Iwaku and the internet. The internet is a really awesome place and MOST of the people you meet will be great people. BUT. Sometimes you are going to meet BAD people. Liars, Predators, Psychos. They range from harmless trolls to seriously dangerous individuals. It is VERY easy to stay safe online and protect yourself from people that might manipulate you or do you harm. If you are a young person, especially in your lower teens, be wary of adults that flirt too much or ask too many personal questions about you. If they try to make you feel guilty when you don't want to share, that is a warning sign that the person might be a problem. Even for adult members, people who push too hard to get personal information about you and then try to make you feel bad are NOT good people. We all want to make friends and close relationships, but you should never give too much information too quickly. And NEVER to people that are pushing or pressuring you for it. If anyone tells you "it's okay we're not in the same age group, we can write sex scenes in PMs or over IMs", report them. Not only is this against our site policies, this is the kind of behavior that precedes sexual predators or assholes with no respect for you, your safety or the safety of this community. If ANYONE ever tries to pressure you in to writing sex scenes (even if they are in your age group) you should report them. Never ever click links or downloads in emails from people you don't know. That is how you get computer viruses! If you don't know the person that send you that message, delete it. If you don't already, it's a good idea to setup the firewall on your computer and have an active virus scanner to run once a month. Malwarebytes has a free virus scanner! Never share your account with ANYONE or your password. Not with friends, not with family members, not with staff members, not with anyone. You never know when a friend might do something shitty on your account, and the YOU are the one that gets blamed and in trouble. Always question when someone posts something that seems farfetched. Many times it is. Many members will post dramatic things like suicide notes, death threats, or even faked death posts. Counseling threads will often have people talking about stalkers or abuse. Sometimes they don't post things publicly, but rather bring you very dramatic tales in private. They could be telling the truth (as many are), but they could also be lies in order to get attention. The bigger the claim, the more likely it is that it's a lie for sympathy. So always be wary and pay attention to the facts about that member. Is there a member that makes you feel uncomfortable or you feel treats you badly? STOP TALKING TO THEM. Report them if they continue to hassle you. You don't EVER have to talk to someone that makes you feel dirty, scared, angry, or anything negative. You don't have to be their friend. It doesn't matter what is going on in their life and it does not make you a bad person for stepping away. No one has the right to make you feel bad. Block them, put them on ignore, do what you need to do. If you feel like someone might actually be dangerous or a problem to the community, please send in a report about them. Even if it turns out that you are sensitive and got mixed signals, it is better to be SAFE and send the report just in case. Staff members are trained to investigate and spot the differences between miscommunications and actual dangerous people. We are probably missing a lot of good tips on how to interact safely here on Iwaku or the internet, so if YOU GUYS have any smart tips, share them. :) The important thing to remember is USE YOUR BRAIN. Question situations. Think before you share or accept information.