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Trust & Online Relationships
The second in the QA Guide series is all about not taking anything at face value. One of the best things about the internet is that you can end up talking to people that you'd never meet in real life, but that kinda goes hand in hand with one of the worst things about the internet... people can appear to be whoever they want. I mean, to an extent, we all do it; we develop an online persona that doesn't necessarily reflect our true selves. Some people, however, just outright lie and you don't have their facial expressions or body language to help you realise.
Trusting People Online
Millions of people have brilliant, rewarding friendships online with people they trust -- but they don't rely on text alone. Text on a screen means nothing in the end, so don't automatically trust people. The key is to build up trust slowly using all of the following, and probably in this order, over the course of many months:
Webcams specifically are good for building trust because you can actually see the person in real time, and possibly hear them too. Still photos can be found anywhere online and you can't always trust that photos really are of the person you're talking to, but webcams solve that problem.
So is QA safe then?
QA Staff know what to look for and we are good at weeding out members who aren't telling the truth. We try our best to keep QA a Safe Space for everyone. Having said that though, it's important that you are webwise and that you look out for yourself and others on QA. You can be relaxed here but you should still keep in mind everything we said in our first QA Guide: Search Engines and Your Privacy Online. Only give your email address out via private message and don't give out any other personal information.
Sometimes you can kinda fall for people online. If you've been through all of the above then that's cool. If you've only ever chatted on MSN for example, then you should probably stop for a second and actually think about it. All you know about them is their portrayal of themselves. Is that really enough? Is your confidence really that well placed? Just, simply, apply some thought. That would be our advice.
Also I guess, if you decide to enter into a relationship, then it's good to keep your eyes open. Long distance relationships are tough things, and that's when you've entered into the relationship in the real world. But when you've never met each other, and you live in different countries, it really doesn't make too much sense. There is so much more to be gained from real world relationships. Again, just think it through.
Meeting Someone From The Web In Real Life
Have a look at our third article in the series:
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