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Lessening risks of online relationships

These tips are for adults who spend time online. Parents should discourage children and teens from developing online relationships.

  • Never offer personal information to strangers on the Internet. Be careful not to divulge such items as your address, phone number or workplace.

  • Build your e-mail relationship carefully. Once you're comfortable interacting on the Internet, set up a phone conversation. Beware of caller ID devices.

  • If the phone conversation goes well, meet in person at a public place. Only then should you share key personal information.

  • Hang on to your sense of reality. To avoid disillusionment, remind yourself that you're seeing only your new friend's good side on the computer.

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