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  4. Safety online guidance

Safety online guidance

Most people are very aware of the importance of computer security, but without necessarily knowing how to ensure it. This section explains how to keep yourself and your information safe while using computers and the internet.

One of the great advantages of OU study is that you will come across all sorts of other students, from diverse backgrounds and places, across a wide age range and with a variety of experience.

Socialising in Forums and Chat Rooms

Computer forums and chat rooms allow everyone to engage in discussions on all kinds of topics with fellow students, who may come from all over the UK, the European Union, or across the world.

It is important that, while you enjoy discussions with other students, you keep some safety guidelines in mind.

  • All OU forums and chat rooms are moderated, and any inappropriate messages will be deleted.
  • If you feel uncomfortable about any approach from another student, let someone know, such as your tutor or the conference moderator, or use the online systems complaints procedure detailed in the current Computing Guide and the new Computing Guide (both require login details).
  • There is information that you should not share – do not give out the following personal details online.
    • Your address
    • Your telephone number
    • Your favourite meeting places
  • If you have had online contact with another student and decide you would like to meet, first talk on the telephone together before you do so. This will help you to get to know them better.
  • When you make arrangements to meet with other students, choose a public place, and a time when there are other people around, and let someone know where you will be.

Do not let these points worry you or prevent you from taking part in online forums. They are sensible precautions that you should take whenever you are online for study, work or leisure.

There is no doubt that our student diversity is a wonderful part of the OU student's experience – you may well make some lifelong friends.