You have a friend request from firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like to accept?
Anne blinked in surprise as she looked at her computer screen. Rocketboy? Did she even know him? Was he even a safe person to chat with?
She couldn't believe that, right out of the blue, a stranger sent her a message wanting to talk to her in a chat room. She knew that her friends would send her instant messages or e-mail her silly jokes while they were online. She knew that her friends were safe to chat with online, but sometimes, she got messages or e-mails from people she didn't even know.
Anne knew that this "Rocketboy" guy was definitely a stranger, and she knew that she was not supposed to talk to strangers. If some random person in the street asked for her name, address, and phone number, she'd probably say no. The same rules applied on the Internet.
She felt really uncomfortable when a stranger tried to contact her online. Knowing that it was the right thing to do, she immediately clicked the deny button.
As she went back to the website she was browsing, a window popped up in the corner of her screen.
Rocketboy: Hey, why didn't you want to be friends with me?
Anne sighed and rolled her eyes. It seemed like this Rocketboy guy didn't let a denied friend request stop him from wanting to chat. She decided that the only thing to do with talk to him.
AnnaLee03: Who the heck told you to randomly chat with someone you don't even know?
Rocketboy: I don't know. I was just in the mood to talk to someone online. Since none of my friends were available...
AnnaLee03: Wait, hold on just a minute. Your friends weren't online, so you decided to chat with me?
Rocketboy: Yeah, what's wrong about that?
AnnaLee03: Well, I don't think it's a good idea to chat with someone you don't know in real life.
Rocketboy: Okay, so we don't know each other very well and haven't met in person. So what?
AnnaLee03: Well, you should never talk to strangers. It can be pretty unsafe.
Rocketboy: Who cares? I love going the dangerous route.
AnnaLee03: Listen, going the dangerous route can lead to serious consequences.
Rocketboy: But staying safe all the time is boring! I think going on a path that's more dangerous is way cooler!
Anne sighed. Rocketboy just wasn't listening to her. It was time to take drastic measures.
AnnaLee03: Oh, stop whining. Being unsafe, especially on the Internet, does not make you look "cool". You could get in trouble, and if you go dangerous, you'll have to face the consequences.
Rocketboy: I don't care about consequences, girl. I just want to show my friends how tough I am by ignoring the rules of the Web.
Anne definitely knew that Rocketboy just wouldn't listen to her. It was time to put this awkward conversation to a halt.
AnnaLee03: Listen, if you want to be dangerous, you can be dangerous somewhere else. Now is not the time and here is not the place. Now, can you please leave me alone? I've got to do my homework.
Rocketboy: Why waste your time on stupid school work when you can find some cool new friends online? Anyway, do you want to be friends?
AnnaLee03: Sorry, but like I said, I'm not supposed to talk to strangers.
With that, Anne ended her conversation with the strange, ignorant Rocketboy and left the chat room. As Rocketboy tried to befriend her again, she clicked on the "Ignore" button, hoping that she would never hear from him again.
She knew better than to keep talking to someone she didn't even know, and that boy didn't seem like a good person to meet in real life. She knew that from now on, she would think twice before talking to someone online, because she would never know if it was a friend or a stranger. She had to be careful with who she followed or befriended.
She started keeping track of what her friends posted online, and she changed her settings to "friends only". If she wouldn't say or do anything in public, she didn't post it online. If someone she didn't know tried to chat or befriend her, she would immediately ignore them.
Even though Anne was strict with rules, she knew how to stay safe, both online and in real life.