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To Sam

Internet friends

hi there

recently ive started talking to someoene online and they are my age and we really want to meet up somewhere but im scared to tell my mum that ive made a friend online and would like to meet them,im scared she wont be very happy with me. Do you have any advice for this?

many thanks x

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

The internet can make finding new friends easy. Sometimes friendships made online can last a long time and be just as strong as those we make in person. One of the dangers of meeting people online is that people may not be who they say they are. Meeting up in person can be dangerous so if you do this it's important not to take risks and not to keep it secret.

If you do choose to meet up in person there are a few things you can do to make it as safe as possible. The first is to choose where you meet carefully - if it's somewhere public, make sure it's not in a quiet place. You should choose somewhere there will be lots of people round like a shopping centre or a café. Don't go somewhere like a park or out into the countryside on your own.

The second thing to do is make sure someone comes with you at first. Having someone who can be there with you lessens the chances of things going wrong. Ideally this should be someone like a parent or carer. You should never go to meet someone from the internet in secret - always tell an adult first.

Telling your mum might be scary, but it's the right thing to do. One way to do it could be to let your mum see your friend talking to you online. If she gets to see what they are like, it will be easier to decide if they are safe. If they are the same age as you, perhaps your mum can contact the people who look after your friend. Together they should be able to decide if it's safe and a good idea to meet up.

I hope this helps. You can always talk to our counsellors if you'd like more support.

Thanks for sending me this letter.

Sam

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