Comedy Central’s Reno911! pokes fun at neighborhood watch groups when Deputies Junior and Rizzo flee gun-toting members of a gated community’s Neighborhood Watch. On the Internet, these neighborhood watch groups become Internet watch dogs focused on safety. And they have a lot to say about safety when it comes to networking on the Web (and they won’t hold a gun to your head).
Looking for Love
Some of the most vulnerable people on the Internet are singles. Here are a few tips for people looking for a date (or a mate) online:
- Select a reputable online dating service
- Ask questions first, offer personal information later
- Use a separate email account to chat “offline” with your prospective mate
- Save copies of your online dating conversations, you never know when things could get ugly.
Online Gaming: It’s not Just for Kids
Voice chat capabilities and the multi-player experience have revolutionized Internet gaming. However, it has also made safety more of an issue. Many adults as well as children participate in online gaming, so it is important for players to be aware of site safety precautions and concerns:
- Xbox® Live features the ability to notify Microsoft when someone is disruptive or lewd during interactive game play.
- Microsoft offers a voice mask that alters a gamers’ voice so she can sound like someone else. This provides safety because while it can protect younger female players from unwanted attention; however, a predator can also disguise who he is.
Buyer Beware: Online Shopping
When shopping for those online bargains, take the same kind of precautions as you would walking into a real store:
- When possible, use a secure online payment site such as PayPal.
- Don’t save your personal information on your hard drive.
- Keep a record of your any online transactions made with a credit card and check them against your monthly statements.