Tip 2: Friend or Stranger?

TIP 2: Remind your children that people they meet online are strangers.

Initiate conversations about how we think about friends and strangers. No matter how well we feel we know someone online or how much we have chatted to or emailed them, they are still strangers. Talk about how it is easier to give false information when talking to people online than it is in real person-to-person interactions. This can be true of people who are ‘friends-of-friends’ in your social networks.

Decide as a family the rules about opening any attachments sent by those who are not trusted family friends. In addition, discuss with your child how important it is for them to talk to you about anybody they meet online who suggests meeting up in the real world.

Conversation starters to help you discuss this with your children:

  • What kind of people should you let be your online friends?
  • Why might some people feel closer to online friends they have never met than face to face friends?
  • Why would it be a problem if someone gave out his or her address or phone number to someone online that they have never met?
  • What would you do if someone you only knew online asked to meet you in real life?