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  I was talking to a 40-year-old man on the net
Updated 10 February 2004, 11.14
Internet chat can be safe
The charity Barnardo's is running a campaign to highlight the dangers young people can face on the internet.

'Sandra' has already had a scary chatroom experience and in her report she tells us that you should never arrange to meet anyone you've been chatting to online.

"About a year ago, when I was 15, my friend and I went into a chatroom on the internet.

We'd never done it before and thought it would be fun.

Sounded nice

We soon started chatting to a boy, he said he was 19.

We would chat to him for an hour each day.

He sounded a nice person and gradually he started to ask personal questions about us, even what we thought about going out with older lads.

Said yes

After a week he asked us if we wanted to meet him.

We immediately said yes, we thought it would be Ok and we hadn't heard anything about chatroom dangers.

Fact File
NEVER give anyone:
Your real name
Your home, school or e-mail address
Your phone number
A photo of yourself
Your parents' credit card details
And because there were two of us, we thought we would look out for each other.

Nobody knew

Three days later we agreed to meet him outside the local McDonalds because it was a crowded area and we didn't want to meet him anywhere that was too quiet.

We didn't tell anyone about what we were going to do, we just thought it would be a laugh.

He gave us his mobile number so we could call him when we arrived there.

Two men

At 8.00pm we were approaching McDonalds where we saw two men standing around looking like they were waiting for someone.

We stayed back and rang the mobile number we were given.

When we did this we saw one of the men answer his phone.

Ran home

We knew straight away that these men were waiting for us.

First of all there were two of them and they were not 19, they looked more like in their 40s.

We both got really scared and ran home.

One of the guys kept ringing me to see where we were so I turned my phone off.

He kept phoning for a couple of days, then he stopped. I didn't feel too worried because he didn't know where we lived.

Very lucky

The reason I'm telling my story is that I want other young people to know about the dangers of chatrooms.

My friend and I put ourselves in a very dangerous situation but luckily we were Ok.

From our experience we urge everyone not to give out any personal information about yourself in chatrooms.

And definitely do not arrange to meet anyone, because you just don't know who you've been talking to."

'Sandra', 16, Middlesbrough

Why don't you write us a Press Pack report - and get it published on the site?!

It can be about anything that's happened in your local area - or your views on the news.

More InfoBORDER=0
Find OutSafe surfing guide
ChatHotseat: Your Qs about net safety
QuizTry the internet safety quiz
Club'Jenny's' scary web experience!
ClubHow to write YOUR report!


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Kids ignore web chatroom dangers
'Think twice' when talking online
Microsoft closes free chatrooms


BBC Links
CBBC Safe Surfing



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