Most people would agree that, given the choice, it’s generally best to stick with authenticity. However, there are plenty of situations in which that would definitely not serve your best interests. As it happens, some of these situations can come up while you’re random video chatting; fortunately, they’re pretty easy to navigate once you’re prepared to handle them.
Say, for example, that you’re on a cam to cam chat site like Camgo. There are thousands of potential chat partners to meet, and most of them are there for the same purpose as you: to have some fun talking with strangers. Some of them, however, could end up having that fun at your expense – or they’re actually scammers looking for their next target.
As you’ll see below, the best strategy to keep yourself safe online is to decide on some practical boundaries before starting a chat session. Information like your full name, contact details, or even your place of work could all be used against you by identity thieves. Even random details about your childhood could be misused by garden-variety internet bullies. Sometimes the person in question is totally innocent, but they don’t have the best grasp on personal boundaries. If you already know what to look for, though, it’ll be a lot easier to spot anyone who’s pushing you outside your comfort zone.
If it ever feels weird to say “no” to someone who’s prying a little too hard, remember that they’re the ones crossing a line, not you. And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! This type of advice is meant to enhance your random chat experience; if you spend all your time on the lookout for someone who’s out to get you, it’ll be hard to have fun with the chat partners who just want to make some friends.
Scenario #1: You get stuck in a chat with someone who seemingly hasn’t talked to another person in 10 years.
This type of chat partner is pretty harmless, but they can still suck a lot of energy out of you without giving much back – definitely not what you signed up for. They could try to get you emotionally involved by over-sharing, and most people’s first instinct would be to share similar stories of their own to hold up their end. However, it isn’t your responsibility to make anyone feel a certain way, and it’s pretty well-known that sharing a lot of personal details on the internet isn’t a great idea. It’s your choice whether or not to stick around for this type of random chatter, but you definitely shouldn’t let them pressure you into over-sharing.
Scenario #2: Your chat partner is very friendly – and very curious about your personal details.
These are some of the hallmarks of an identity thief, and you could find yourself crossing paths with one or two of them if you regularly spend time on chat sites. The main thing to remember is that scammers don’t seem like scammers; they aren’t going to pop up on your screen wearing a bandit mask. Instead, they could try to earn your trust by sharing some personal information of their own, expecting you to reciprocate. If this sounds familiar, it’s because you just read about it above. They could have a hard-luck story, or they could simply be talkative and charismatic. Either way, the point is to draw you in for the purpose of gleaning any personal information you’ll pass on to them.
The good news? The average random video chat is anonymous, meaning the scammers can’t get their hands on your information unless you give it to them yourself. If you’ve already decided not to do that, they might as well be trying to run through a brick wall. You could give them false information, or you could just decline to share anything. If they leave shortly after getting turned down, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what they were after all along.
Scenario #3: Your chat partner turns out to be a bully.
Random chat sites host all kinds of people, and that includes bullies. They’re a lot easier to spot than other types of disagreeable chat partners, but they can be just as good at drawing you into a conversation that you won’t even enjoy. If you’re already on the lookout, though, you can spot their agenda right away – and switch to another chat before they know what happened. There’s no need to try to defend yourself, save your dignity, or argue your point until they admit defeat. Instead, hit the “next chat” button and save yourself the bother. What are they going to do about it – say something nasty after you’ve left the chat?
Scenario #4: You’re talking with someone who’s always cooler, smarter, or richer than you are.
Some people need to get over themselves, but they’re a long way from realizing it. In a bid for validation, they put down whoever they’re with in order to make themselves feel better. This could be a bit more subtle than someone who’s pumping you for your personal details, but if you notice that you’re feeling worse about yourself as a chat progresses, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re talking with a narcissist.
In particular, you might realize that you’re getting baited into sharing details about your life experiences – only to listen to your chat partner diss them right afterward. In this case, you could make something up so they get a taste of their own medicine, or simply leave the chat for a more wholesome partner. It’s usually considered bad form to blatantly misrepresent yourself in a random chat, but if someone’s already messing with you, that could be considered a legitimate defensive move.
With the right boundaries and some common sense, you can have fun without worrying about a few bad apples.
Being genuine during your random chats is a good rule of thumb, but not all of your chat partners deserve it. Just remember what to look out for, and enjoy the experience!
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