This guide is incomplete. The link is broken. How did you get here?
Back to Directory

The Beginner's Guide To The Internet

About half of the things you need to know, in very quick succession
The internet is a big, awe-inspiring place. For a lot of people - including me! - it's the first time they really, truly get a chance to meet themselves: the person they are outside of their parents, their teachers, and the other people who tell them who they're supposed to be being. Especially, especially when the person exploring (you?) already knows something inside of them feels different from the people around them; the particular kind of loneliness that comes with experiences like simply being LGBTQIAA...A.....S......+ (I could add a lot more letters, but that would be obnoxious), or having been made to do things against your will, or having a brain and mind that don't do what random passerby expect out of them.
That becomes a problem because there are many, many people who like to make themselves feel powerful by swooping in to take the place of parents/teachers/etc. The more isolated you are, and the fewer or less trustworthy the people already in your life, the easier it is to be manipulated by these 'Hawks'
You deserve to decide what you believe on YOUR OWN TERMS, in YOUR OWN TIME, and respect people you meet on the net ONLY as they deserve to be respected!

A dark hare spirit leaping under the light of the moon. It is escaping. Marker and colored pencil.

(kyoht on dA)

“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you.
But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks...”

- Richard Adams, Watership Down

Now, "To guide" means the guide-writer (me, Bennie) is presenting themselves as some sort of authority - what a trap! I'm asking you to put trust in what I say, but then the first thing I go and say is not to trust.

The first trick.

The first, and probably most important, trick is to make yourself look less tasty. 'Hawks' are a lot like the myths of the 'Fair Folk' (perhaps more accurately called the unfair folk), in that the more they know about you, the more power they have over you. Things like a Caard or other About Me types grant readers power over you!

The second trick.

The second trick is to know when something is hurting you, and then know what to do next.
'Hawks' use the fear and pain of your hurt to make themselves seem trustworthy.
They will promise you that they can make your hurt stop hurting and keep it from happening again: they say you can do this by trusting their advice, and helping them make others aware of and deal justice to the dangerous people in the world.
Many of these Hawks even believe what they are saying. A lot of them are the people who were caught by Hawks before, and have never gotten away.
Ultimately, it is true: Justice is rare, and there are many dangerous people in the world. Sometimes, the best that can be hoped for is to tell others what has happened, and warn them to avoid the person - and it is genuinely hard to tell the difference between "callouts" about real dangers and about invented ones.
Unfortunately, I can't offer much guidance on that right now, other than to say: Everyone always has the right to withdraw consent ("say no") for an interaction, whether that's looking at a picture, reading a story, or talking about something.

If you are young, you are always safest when your online profile could easily be an adult's: The more someone specifically claims that they are safe for online youth to talk to, the more likely they are a 'Hawk' who targets them.