Phone chatlines are not dead. In fact, they are thriving and contain some of the most interesting people you will find in your area. However, that doesn’t mean chatlines are 100% safe. As with any other activity involving contact with strangers, you will have to be extra careful and vigilant with whatever information you share. Agreeing to meet a chatline friend in a restaurant or any other venue is also discouraged for your own safety. Other safety measures you have to keep in mind include but are not limited to the following:
Don’t Give Personal Information
Obviously, you are not supposed to give out personal information, but very few people realize just what personal information means. Your name, surname, work, and address are obviously private – but there are a lot more that you should keep private. Name of family members, children, what school you go to, your daily habits and various others should NOT be divulged to a random stranger. Now, this might seem too much, but keep in mind that these are things people can use to find you. There is also this very real threat of identity theft which is becoming a bigger and bigger issue today. Keep in mind what banks usually ask their clients when opening an account – those are the casual thing you should really try to avoid telling any casual stranger.
Do Not Give Out Pictures
A common technique in chatlines is that after talking to an individual for some time, you will be asked to send a picture of yourself to some email address. The truth is that although the acquaintance may start on the phone, other modes of communication are used to give out non-audio information – such as images. NEVER do this – even if you are giving out a completely casual photo, even worse if you are being asked to send a compromising one. Keep the conversations within the phone chatline and think things over should you decide to go beyond this casual source of communication.
Be Careful When Meeting Someone in Person
If you have decided to meet someone, make sure you have set up every possible safety measure before showing up at the meeting place. For example, keep your meeting place public and have an exit strategy. Bring someone with you and if this is not possible, make sure your friends are informed of where you are and who you are with. Some women make a point of ‘talking’ to their friends on the phone in the presence of their chat-mate just to give that extra layer of protection. There are dozens of news report of girls meeting friends through chat and ending up dead or harassed.
Do Not Let Yourself Be Put in a Compromising Situation
The story of Amanda Todd as posted in Wikipedia is one of the strongest evidence for safe chatting. Amanda Todd was bullied into exposing her breasts through a webcam and has been continuously bullied and threatened online, resulting to her suicide. It’s a very sad ending and should be a reminder to anyone that there are unscrupulous people who might take advantage of you. Of course, Amanda Todd’s story happened through the internet, but that doesn’t mean that the same can’t be done through phone chatlines. Refrain from talking about anything personal – and not just those relating to yourself! Information about your family and friends should also be kept private, even if you think there’s no way the stranger would be able to relate the story to the people close to you.
Cover All Bases
Also take note of your public profile. There are features which allow you to view what non-friends or non-followers can see when they check out your account. Yes – being active in a phone chatline doesn’t actually pose a threat to your online life, but you might be surprised at how amazing some people can work from a single piece of information. Those being said, don’t presume that the person you’re talking to is limited to checking you out through the phone. Assume that they’re checking you out online as well, especially if you’ve given them your real name and address. Hence, keep your social media accounts secured. Limit the people who can view you and try to make yourself non-searchable through different sites.
Don’t Bully Others
Of course, you will also have to pay particular attention to how YOU behave in the chatline. If you don’t bully others or put them in a compromising position, then they hopefully won’t do the same to you – although of course, this is not always the case. The point however is to make sure that you don’t draw unnatural attention through your own actions. Keep a low profile if possible and just concentrate on enjoying yourself without sacrificing the enjoyment of others. Some people follow an invisible rule wherein they only give out as much information as the person they’re talking to. However, this isn’t a good rule. What if the other person decides to talk about something personal and expects you to return the favor? Be upfront but polite – tell them that you’re not comfortable talking about certain subjects and if they don’t like that, then they can find someone else to talk to.
Pay Attention to your Intuition
Your intuition will tell you if a particular person should be avoided. Listen to this little voice of intuition. It may not always be right, but it’s better to err on the side of caution. Do you feel like there’s something wrong with this particular person? If so, end the conversation and start over again.
Report Bad Behavior
Lastly, let the admin know when someone tries to harass or bully you in a chatline. Although you might be good in deflecting their advances, other people might not be as well-practiced. Reporting bad behavior ensures that they won’t be able to come back and do the same thing to other people. Most phone chatlines have this security measure and if they don’t, it’s best not to try them out again.
Phone chatlines are fun and with online chatting now virtually full of people, the phone is a great alternative to enjoy the same benefits. In fact, phone chatlines can be cozier with more interesting people willing to talk to you in real time. Staying safe, however, should be your topmost priority. Good luck!