For generations it has been ingrained in us, time-honoured rule: "Don't talk to strangers."
But that rule has a new meaning now that people can talk to strangers all over the world via the internet.
Talking in chat groups and through e-mail isn't anything like talking over the telephone or meeting someone in person. There is no eye contact and there is no chance to pick up meaning from the cadence and rhythm of the human voice. People on the internet can log on using fake names, they can create whole new identities that are tough to challenge.
The scary thing is that many people who talk and chat on the Internet think it's perfectly safe.But it's not.
An underage Canadian girl, who can't be named, received this e-mail from her "cyberpal."
I thought about you and what I would do if we were together and this happened when we had our baby... You are my inspiration and my soul! I can hardly wait til you're with me.Jason turned out to be 28-year-old Jason Wright from Washington state. He arrived at the girl's home in Victoria, B.C., and drove away with her.
Love, your man Jason
Police caught up with them and charged Wright with abduction and sexual assault. Police say Wright had spent a night in a hotel with the girl.
They also found a notebook containing the names and e-mail addresses of other young girls in Canada and the U.S.Wright was found not guilty of both charges.
In 2001, Ottawa proposed a new law that would mean a maximum five-year prison sentence for people caught using the internet to lure children. The law came into effect in July 2002 as part of an omnibus amendment to the Criminal Code.
But Bruce Headridge, a former detective with the Organized Crime Agency of B.C., says there's still a long way to go as the legal system tries to keep up with the quickly-evolving technology. (Needs to provide recourse and safety for lured adults as well!!)
Online safety rules
* Don't respond to flaming (provocation)CyberBreach.com, set up by Headridge also suggests similar guidelines for online chats and e-mails.
* Choose a genderless screen name
* Don't flirt online, unless you're prepared for the consequences. This is just like real life. Yes, you have the right to flirt. And you have the right to a sexy nickname. Sometimes it's better just to back off a bit and not exercise all your rights all the time.
* Save offending messages and report them to your service provider (and theirs)
* Don't give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else.
* Get out of a situation online that has become hostile, log off or surf elsewhere.
(edited from the original)
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE