Net Safety

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Remember, if you do venture out onto IRC, the real time interaction may dazzle you for awhile but ultimately you are STILL DEALING WITH STRANGERS OVER THE WEB. Here are some tips and pointers to take note of.

UtoNet Culture

UtoNet culture is admittedly not for everyone. Most of the users you come across on UtoNet are admittedly fine. Some are elitists. And some are just downright rude with no justification.

Choose the crowd you want to hang out with, and work from there. Don't forget your identity, but don't draw attention to yourself by speaking your mind and disagreeing straight off, if you have just joined the network. Instead, try to take in what you can from other people and blunt their flames, if any, with politeness.

  1. It throws them off balance
  2. It effectively shifts the power of balance to a more neutral zone.

Learn how to laugh at yourself, and your mistakes. Eventually, people will respect you for it. People management is an important skill you can afford to pick up on UtoNet, because some of the people here will be just like those grumpy old customers you may have to handle in real life.


Net Safety

Don't accept unsolicited files

On a Mac, IRCing is a safe and enjoyable experience as there are no current exploitable ways of attacking a Macintosh remotely via IRC, or through the the network connection itself. That being said, with the increasing popularity of the Mac it is sensible to take care and exercise common sense when using IRC, even on a Mac.

1. Don't accept unsolicited files
The most important rule is not to accept file transfers from people you don't know unless you have requested the file.
2. Keep your OS up to date
Enable/Download release updates in order to ensure your system is well protected and to prevent potential remote attacks against your computer.


Avoid clicking on web page links posted by strangers

It is rare that you will be pasted websites meant to infect machines with viruses and spyware on UtoNet due to the small size of the community. Once in a blue moon, spammers or spambots may appear and post links in public channels, DO NOT CLICK ON THESE LINKS.

Normally, on UtoNet itself you may find yourself a victim of a Rickroll, or get linked to a NSFW (Not Safe For Work) website such as 2Girls1Cup, Lemonparty, TubGirl and the likes. Don't click it if you don't want to see it, or unless you trust the link/person.

 Alternatively, you can use sites such as http://www.submitshop.com/tools/linkchecker.html to check what a link leads to.

Be careful about giving out personal information

The people you talk to on IRC are strangers and you will only gradually get to know them through their messages. Even so, appearances can be deceiving and you are cautioned against giving out personal information without care.

Since this is utopia, you will probably be required to share your personal contact number to remain contactable. If someone out of your kingdom asks for a fellow kingdom mate's number, decline. You probably wouldn't like it if someone gave your number out, would you? Instead, just let them know you'll inform your kingdom mate that someone was looking for them.

DO NOT

  • Give out your address.
  • Give out your financial information such as a Social Security nr.


Meeting Net Friends In Real Life

The vast majority of UtoNet users are decent, honest people and many people have first met on UtoNet and later on gone to meet up in real life, establishing friendships outside Utopia and some even progression to relationships [1],[2].

Still, you are advised to use caution when meeting net strangers in real life especially if someone seems too friendly and/or too interested in personal details. If you are female, ever the more reason to practice caution when meeting strangers for the first time.

Practice Safety First

  • Ensure you've talked to this person for awhile and have a general idea of what they are like online - even if you need to talk to others about them.
  • Have you seen photos of this person or are they being mysterious and always denying your requests? Do they have something to hide?
  • Speak by phone first. A phone call can reveal much about a person’s communication and social skills and let you know what to expect.

When Meeting Someone

  • Try to meet up in a group.
  • If you are meeting someone 1-on-1 regardless of how long you have talked online/over the phone/through text messages, ensure that your location is known by a friend or family member.
  • Common sense - Do not meet someone at night in a secluded area.
  • Meet in a safe place - meeting for a meal would be ideal. Be careful with alcohol and medications.
  • If you're female - get a friend to give you a call an hour or two into the meet-up. If you feel uncomfortable with the person you are meeting up with, or feel that they have an ulterior motive, make up a 'family emergency' and bail after the phone call.


References
1. Versace, LightNing & Dani (editor) (2008). Love Through Utopia Part 1, Available at [online] http://utimes.info/article/2008/12/05/love-through-utopia-part-1
Copyright Property of uTimes.info and the persons involved.
2. Clarey & The Rock (editor) (2009). Love Through Utopia Part II, Available at [online] http://utimes.info/article/2009/01/06/love-through-utopia-part-ii
Copyright Property of uTimes.info and the persons involved.