When nobody knows that you are not a dog…

Dog that was hanging out at the skytrain station, by the MBK mall. The owner had another dog too but he wasn't all dressed up. From the looks of things this was a regular gig for the dog. There was about 20 tourists and locals snapping pics.

If someone starts asking you questions about your offline identity, the best response is to just ignore them or tell them you don’t share that information to anyone. They do only need to know that you are Lorelei the mermaid or a dog called Bandit. The virtual worlds offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate, so it’s important to keep yourself safe and secure. Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, the advice and tools here can help you navigate the web safely and securely.

Golden rules about Internet Safety:

  • Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number.
  • Don’t send pictures of yourself to anyone, especially indecent pictures.
  • Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know.
  • Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online.
  • If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it.

It is best to offer information of a more personal nature pseudonymously, and keep the pseudonym(s) carefully firewalled from your real identity.

Good rules for screen names and passwords:

  • Make passwords eight or more characters long (longer passwords are harder to crack than shorter ones).
  • Try not to use dictionary words as your passwords (nonsense words are better).
  • Include letters, numbers, and symbols (these make it harder to guess passwords).
  • Change your password at least every six months (this way, even if someone does guess a password, he or she won’t be able to get into your account for long).
  • Don’t use your nickname, phone number, or address as your password.
  • Give your password to your parent or guardian (they will help you remember it if you forget it).
  • Sharing your password with your friends is not a good idea (even if you trust them, they might unintentionally do something that puts you or your information at risk).
  • Create a password that’s unique but memorable.
  • Avoid using your real name.
  • Skip personal details (no ages, addresses, or jersey numbers, for example).
  • Consider a screen name’s effect on others (make sure it’s readable and inoffensive).

 

Protect your virtual life.

If someone is harrassing you, either right-click on their avatar and select ‘mute’ or search for their profile and click ‘mute’ on that. In rare cases you can meet a very enthusiastic stalker who will just make a new avatar after you have muted him/her and then continue their harrasment. Most worlds has a abuse-report function where you can report these “griefers” to the world-owner, that mostly will ban that person either by IP or by something like that.

Dont just accept any offers from others you dont know. Some people have a lot of fun to offer scripted functionality that could make you look like something completely different from yourself and it is apparently especially funny when they offer that to a new person, because oldbie’s dont fall for that trick anymore.  If your avatar suddenly is being animated against your will, then in most viewers there are a function called “Stop animating”. It is located in the menu somewhere, and where depends on which viewer you use.

You could also be given a tracker that could trace where you are everytime you log in, and you do not want that someone more or less unpleasant type always know where you are and can tp to you to annoy you. So therefore dont ever accept things from people you dont know or dont trust.

If someone starts to push you around, physically, then just rightclick on the ground and choose “sit”. Then your avatar sits on the ground and no one can push you anymore. Some people have a lot of fun doing that to especially new people.

You also have some privacy-options that you can set in the viewer you use to load the world. You can for example set if you want to be found in search, or if you dont want anyone but your frineds to see that you are online. Some viewers have a radar that can show you which avatars that are near you. That is good if you dont want to meet someone, then you can just teleport to a different place.

 

Protect your mental health.

It is easy to become totally engulfed by the virtual life. More than you may believe. It can be hard to keep the sane mode, if you can call it that, when you start to believe that you really ARE your avatar. When you discover that things are starting to get to you personally, either because you gets mad about something or because you suddenly feel very sad, and you realize that its your avatar that is really getting mad or sad, then it is time to log out of the virtual world and start to live your real life a bit, until you have calmed down and can keep a safe distance to whatever happens in the virtual worlds. If you manage to keep a healthy balance bewteen your virtual life and your real life, then you will find yourself having many hours of fun, and enjoyable moments for many years.