Stay safe during language exchange
The internet is a fantastic tool and, if used correctly, can seriously improve your knowledge and heighten your IQ. Whether you like it or not, we now live in a digital world, where most of what we do depends on technological innovations, most of which have been released over the past ten years or less.
Although most of you will remember a time without the internet or possibly with a basic form of it, which required you to be subjected to the merciless screeches of dial up broadband before you spent the next three hours downloading one moderately humorous photo.
Some of you may remember MSN chat and conversing with your friends in a whole new, modern way.
Now, the power of the internet is harnessed in such a way that we are able to connect with people from all corners of the globe at the click of a button. We can broaden our horizons so easily.
The truth is, the internet is a lot safer than historical forms of communication, however, there are some things that you do have to watch out for, just to make sure that your good time remains a good time and nobody gets hurt or upset because of things which can be avoided.
We’ve put together this article to give you a helping hand on the do’s and don’ts of language exchange.
WATCH OUT FOR SCAMMERS
Although we do our very best to keep scammers off our servers, the occasional con artist can slip through and disguise themselves as a normal person on the site. This is part and parcel of any social networking site that requires people to give some basic information about themselves.
Fortunately, these are not the brightest people and if you’re vigilant, it’s fairly easy to spot them.
Firstly, look out for suspicious photos, any photos that contain a person in hospital claiming to be sick, an overly attractive woman or lesser known celebrities. These photographs should be red flags right away and you should report the user to us as soon as possible.
Secondly, if anybody asks for your email address before even having a basic conversation with you, it’s likely that they’re not on this website to exchange languages. As a general rule, you should have at least 3 conversations with anyone before you give out delicate personal information such as an email address of phone number.
Similarly, you should instantly report anybody asking for credit or debit card details. Since the site doesn’t currently charge for any of its services, it’s vital that we know when others are trying to use the platform for financial gain.
So far, users have been extremely good with reporting potential scammers and we’ve actual removed a lot of fake profiles that way so thank you for your assistance and vigilance in identifying potential dangers.
We are sure that you are smart enough to figure these things out on your own, but it’s important to know, particularly if it’s your first time or you’re unfamiliar with these types of sites. Remember, some cultures will be far more direct than others, but asking for emails, phone numbers, card details or addresses in the first message is a clear sign that this user has ulterior motives.
IF YOU MEET UP IN PERSON, TELL SOMEONE
If any of you have ever used dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish or OK Cupid, you’ll likely have heard some horror stories regarding meet ups in those apps.
As we’ve said before, the website isn’t necessarily intended for dating purposes, but romantic sparks can fly every once in a while. Regardless of what you’re looking for and how open you are, there are some basic pieces of advice that one should follow during a real life meet up.
Talk to the person a few times before you go. If possible, try to do it by video so that you have a basic idea of what they look like. It’s fairly difficult for most people to completely formulate a video chat so if you can agree to that, you will know what to expect when you meet in person.
Organise the meet up so that it takes place in a well lit, crowded area. This is the safest thing you can do and it benefits both of you.
Tell a friend or someone you trust about the meet up. Ideally this should be a person that can call the emergency line in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.
Make your intentions clear at the beginning of the exchange. If you’re looking only to exchange languages and nothing more, make that known. If you’re looking for something more romantic then let that be known too, of course you shouldn’t rush into anything without really knowing the person first.
DON’T DO ANYTHING YOU’RE UNCOMFORTABLE DOING
It’s kind of related to the last point, but if you’re asked to do something that you’re not comfortable with, you have every right to say no. It’s something that doesn’t happen regularly, but you should know that you are in control of your actions and that anything you feel uncomfortable with should be brought up to your partner immediately.
Generally, most people are very understanding and automatically express their apologies for any behaviour that may have been aggressive, forward or possibly thoughtless. It goes without saying that you should never send pictures of a sensitive nature to someone you don’t know. On the same hand, if you are asked to send any pictures of an intimate nature to someone, that is completely your decision, but you should be one hundred percent sure that you have total trust in that person before sharing images of any kind.
REPORT INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR ASAP
We are always grateful for your help in eliminating those accounts that have the potential to cause problems on the site. Despite the fact that we spend many hours working around the clock to ensure that you have the best experience possible on the site, there are some limitations to what we can physically do and this is the reason we have included the report system.
We don’t rely on the help that you give us but it certainly comes in handy so we ask that you keep going and report any potential dangers to us as soon as you spot them.
It’s not all doom and gloom, these are just some basic pieces of information that people ought to know before heading right into a language exchange.
These things don’t happen very often and the results of language exchanges are far more positive than they are negative. With this in mind, we want you to go out there and have fun getting to know people from all over the friends and hopefully having a great time along the way.
Thanks for using Studenz and trusting in us for the number one language experience you can have!
Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer
- Language Exchange
- 17 Feb, 2020
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