You Are At: AllSands Home > Lifestyles > Internet love affairs: playing it safe
As more people today have access to use of the internet through careers, school, or home computers, the trend of communicating online is on the rise. With the increasing popularity of this form of relationship, some individuals do not often consider this to be a potentially dangerous situation. However, there are people and places on the internet to be cautious of, as my own experience clearly shows.

While taking a break from working on my home computer, I logged onto a chat room and quickly joined in on the room discussion. I entered these rooms periodically, but had never continued a conversation with someone outside the rooms. I began chatting with a male individual on this particular day, under my fake user name. I felt a strange connection to this person while speaking with him. We enjoyed all the same hobbies and activities. We had similar careers and both of us were happily married and had children. Neither of us were unhappy with our lifestyles, but we both had quiet natures and didn't have many friends to talk with.

We spoke a few times after that and revealed more personal details about ourselves each time. We eventually exchanged photos of ourselves, and began corresponding through email as well. I found myself rushing to my computer as soon as my husband left for work each day, and I realized I was becoming attracted to this man. In the midst of a conversation one day this man told me he was in love with me. The rational side of me said he was crazy. After all, we had only known each other for a few weeks. Still, my confidence was soaring by this point, and I wanted to continue talking with him.

A short time later, he began talking about leaving our families to be together. I decided it was time to end this cyber relationship, as I had never had any intention of actually meeting this person. I was very polite and simply explained my position to him. That evening we received the first of many prank phone calls, until we finally had to change our phone number. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough of a hint for this person.

He preceded to inform my husband about our 'fling.' My husband and I eventually worked things out, but there will probably always be a sense of distrust between us. I have spoken to many people who assure me this does not always happen with cyber relationships. However, my experience certainly taught me a lesson and I only hope that others realize that not everyone is what they seem to be on the internet.

Safety guidlines to follow online:
1) Don't use your real name. Make up a fake user name.
2) When on a chat line, leave your public profiles blank. Only people you really 'know' need this information anyway.
3) Never give out your address or phone number. Be cautious when someone else gives you their phone number, many people have caller ID today.
4) Avoid sending out your picture to people.
5) If you decide to correspond through email, set up an account with a fake name, or an account that does not display your real name. Many sites offer free accounts. Remember, you can always give your real name after you've established trust with a person.
5) No matter how sincere someone seems, it takes a long time to trust a person.
6) Ask yourself if you ever want to meet this person. If you hesitate, or aren't sure, you shouldn't be providing them with personal information about yourself.