Dear All Social media (which includes forums, social network platforms, Wikipedia, blogs etc.) is a great way of learning and communication. It is also a means to connect with people worldwide. There is however a risk of young people becoming victims of online predators just as there is a threat in real life. Online predators usually incite teenagers to do things that may be rebellious, ‘cool’, unorthodox and, bluntly speaking, acts of sexual nature. Predators may also look for vulnerabilities of others and prey on the victims in a subtle or direct manner. Shiachat is no exception to such threats and the leadership team treats them seriously. While we do our best to investigate and even inform authorities (if needed), we would like to raise awareness that online predators may be lurking in our community. Things that you need to keep in mind about predators: Just because people are knowledgeable and appear religious does not mean we can trust them blindly. Predators may be wearing cloak of nobility, intellect, religiosity, liberalism and modern enlightenment. Predators may encourage you to do things that may be legal or generally acceptable based on Islamic traditions, but highly controversial and sensitive in your family, community and society. For example, temporary marriage with a view to permanent marriage in the future, or secret meetings/dating e.t.c. Participation in such activities may pose serious risk since the predator may blackmail you in the future, abuse or mistreat you or simply betray your trust. Not to mention guilt and internal conflicts within your family and community. Please be ware. If it helps, create a separate anonymous account to discuss your situation with an admin or a mod before you take any step that may negatively affect you in the long term (You can also refer to our Brothers & Sisters Consultancy Groups) Predators may attempt to establish communication on external platforms (besides Shiachat) Predators may keep most of their discussions in private (It is in your best interest to keep personal communication to a minimum and professional in nature) Predators may ask questions of personal nature in order to prey on your vulnerabilities in the future Predators may share sad stories about themselves and may go as far as claiming that they are suicidal ( please refer them to senior members or mods rather than trying to assist through personal conversations) Your Cooperation is needed: If there is doubt about someone’s activities on the forum, please collect as much data as you can and forward to the admins. If someone contacts you in private and continues to hassle you despite polite decline, please report him or her to the admins or mods The above mentioned criteria is also applicable to Shiachat Leadership Team. So please report any mod or admin if you have reasonable grounds to believe that he or she is acting strangely or not within boundaries of professionalism. If you wish to discuss personal issue on the forums, please avoid disclosing private information (names, location e.t.c). Avoid sharing information that will make it easier for people to identify you. We also suggest to be cautious when uploading or sharing personal pictures. If you recall posting emotional stuff and confessions, definitely should avoid posting pics. Create a new (clean) profile for that purpose. Regards
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