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Minimising the risk of meeting someone offline

Adults should be just as careful as children in arranging to meet an online friend offline. The bottom line is that an adult should take whatever steps he or she feels are necessary and, if you don't feel comfortable about meeting your online friend in person, don't go - no matter what your online friend tells you.

Some potential steps to take are as follows:

  1. Take your time, there's no urgent rush to meet in person.
  2. Talk it over with a friend to get their perspective.
  3. Be honest but don't reveal personal details.
  4. Talk on the telephone first.
  5. Set terms for the meeting, such as a time limit.
  6. Keep the meeting short.
  7. Always meet in a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant.
  8. Don't leave the public place for the first few meetings.
  9. Tell a friend where you will be, or take the friend along to your first meeting.