The internet can be an incredible place to connect with others who have similar interests and to share ideas. With the creation of the Hoop City Homestay Project I thought it was important to post some information on internet safety. It is great that we all love hooping and fire spinning but that does not mean that everyone here is nice and honest. Chances are there may be a few who are not who they appear to be. Remember that we can not actually see each other and some people use the internet as a means to pretend to be something they are not. A mentally ill person who is a 40 year old male may be pretending to be a 18 year old girl or vice versa and you really don't want to be giving out personal details to this kind of person. You should always think about what you put into our forum discussions and group discussions. It is viewable by anyone on the internet. That includes the crazy people who get a thrill out of hurting or harming others.
So what should you do to keep SAFE on the internet? Think very carefully about what information that you give out in public viewable areas of the site. Do not give out your personal street address or phone numbers. Just because you may see others post their personal information does not mean that it is a safe practice
Hoop City is a great resource for making new friends and meeting others interested in the same art forms but just because you are best friends online does not mean you should let your guard down. If you want to meet up with someone from the internet then instead of meeting at your place, try meeting in a public place where other people will be, and make sure you tell someone (eg. parents, loved one) and why not take a friend along too, that way you have help if you need it. Do not go for a ride in their car or meet at their house unless you feel safe and have friends with you. It is better always to organize your own transport to and from the meeting place, that way you can leave when you want to. You make the rules and do not let them convince you otherwise. If they are genuine they should be happy meeting you the way you want. Most of the people you meet and chat with are really nice Hoop City Citizens, but always be prepared for the very few that are not.
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