Safety tips

Discover practical tips to keep your daily life safe, learning to avoid potential dangers and reduce risks in your environment.

Written by Alain VEST

Last published at: January 19th, 2024

Table of Contents

Secure your account Pay attention to location functionsFrom your settings page, you can choose if you want to "Show distance" in other users' grids. By deselecting "show distance", the distance between you and other people will not be displayed. However, your profile will be visible to other people in the grid, sorted by your distance from them, so an approximate distance can be deduced. bearwww only collects your information within a radius of 100 meters with precision. Sometimes it can be very close to where you are and sometimes it can be almost 100 meters from your actual location. Be careful when travelingIf you're traveling to a new place, find out the local laws. Unfortunately, in some countries where being LGBTQ+ is criminalized, law enforcement has been known to use social media apps as tools for possible entrapment. Some countries have laws that even criminalize communications between people on LGBTQ+ networks. Do not rushTry talking over the phone or video chat before meeting someone in person. Even when chatting online, be careful what you share. You can first check on social media or with a friend (or a friend of a friend) that the person you are talking to is really part of the LGBTQ+ community. Practice safer sexDon't let anyone make you feel like your sexuality is abnormal. Don't let anyone shame you or tell you that what you love isn't what's best for you. And don't let anyone pressure you into having sex if you don't want to. Likewise, make sure to ask for consent before having sex and respect boundaries. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and sex is never owed to anyone. Uses the blocking and reporting functionIf someone makes you feel uncomfortable on the app, you can choose to block them by selecting the ':no_entry_sign:' icon on the user's profile and tapping "Block". You will no longer be able to contact each other unless you choose to unblock them.If you feel like someone is violating our Community Guidelines, report them by selecting the ':no_entry_sign:' icon on their profile and tapping "Report". Our moderation team will review the profile and your report and take appropriate action. COVID-19 AwarenessIn many parts of the world, it is advised not to meet in person at this time. We recommend keeping your appointments virtual to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

Bearwww aims to be an online space for community, safety, expression and connection. Here are some safety tips, from us to you, for navigating this space:
Protect your identity
Protecting your identity and personal information is very important when it comes to anything online. Here are some things we suggest you protect when taking advantage of our services:

  • Do NOT post personal information on your public profile (phone number, address, where you work).
  • Only share your information with users you trust.
  • Do NOT share financial information with other users.
  • Be careful of phishing and romance scams.
  • SMS verifications sent to you by bearwww are ONLY for you and should not be shared with anyone else.
  • If you don't feel comfortable using a full-frontal photo for your profile, consider a photo that represents you differently (note that you can search the photo and find all the other sites where you published it).
  • Be careful when connecting your social media accounts to your bearwww profile.
  • Pay attention to our in-app privacy features.
  •  

Secure your account

You need to understand that people can save and/or share private information that you share in chat, such as messages or photos.

If you're on an unreliable WiFi network, consider using a VPN to connect to bearwww, but you should check local laws before doing so.

Pay attention to location functions
From your settings page, you can choose if you want to "Show distance" in other users' grids. By deselecting "show distance", the distance between you and other people will not be displayed. However, your profile will be visible to other people in the grid, sorted by your distance from them, so an approximate distance can be deduced. bearwww only collects your information within a radius of 100 meters with precision. Sometimes it can be very close to where you are and sometimes it can be almost 100 meters from your actual location.

If you don't want to display your approximate distance, you can always go into your device's settings and turn off location sharing completely. In some parts of the world, being a member of the LGBTQ community is illegal. In these regions, bearwww may automatically hide user locations, or even disable this feature completely.

Be careful when traveling
If you're traveling to a new place, find out the local laws. Unfortunately, in some countries where being LGBTQ+ is criminalized, law enforcement has been known to use social media apps as tools for possible entrapment. Some countries have laws that even criminalize communications between people on LGBTQ+ networks.

If you find yourself in an area that may be unsafe, exercise extreme caution and consult local human rights organizations for assistance.

Note: Here you can read all the information about countries/regions that have banned bearwww.

 

Do not rush
Try talking over the phone or video chat before meeting someone in person. Even when chatting online, be careful what you share. You can first check on social media or with a friend (or a friend of a friend) that the person you are talking to is really part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Although bearwww strives to quickly ban scammers, they exist and you should be wary of them. Some scammers who practice "sextortion" may record and use intimate messages or videos against you. Scammers may try to move you to email or video very quickly, because they know they will soon be blocked from bearwww. In general, we recommend maintaining communication on bearwww until you are completely comfortable.

Sharing your location or address can be risky, only do it when you feel comfortable, and don't feel obligated if the other person has already sent you their location (as it may not be not her real position and that she uses it to lure you into giving your real position).

If you decide to meet, we recommend that you do so first in public, in a safe place like an LGBTQ+ cafe, and be careful about the items you bring with you. Know your limits with alcohol, don't accept strange drinks or drugs, and keep an eye on your own drinks.

Make sure a responsible person you trust knows who you are going to meet, where you are going, and when you plan to return. Provide emergency contact details. Finally, make sure you are responsible for your own transportation and have a plan for getting home.

Practice safer sex and get tested regularly for HIV and other STIs. Always discuss your safety expectations with people you meet.


Uses the blocking and reporting function
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable on the app, you can choose to block them by selecting the ':no_entry_sign:' icon on the user's profile and tapping "Block". You will no longer be able to contact each other unless you choose to unblock them.
If you feel like someone is violating our Community Guidelines, report them by selecting the ':no_entry_sign:' icon on their profile and tapping "Report". Our moderation team will review the profile and your report and take appropriate action.

Even if you follow all of our advice, no risk reduction plan is perfect. If you would like to report an incident that occurred outside of bearwww, let us know at help@bearwww.com. You can also reach out to human rights or LGBTQ+ organizations for help, and if you feel comfortable, report the incident to law enforcement.

 

We encourage you to connect and help us build a safe and inclusive community.
 

COVID-19 Awareness
In many parts of the world, it is advised not to meet in person at this time. We recommend keeping your appointments virtual to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

If you meet someone in person: plan an activity outside, wear masks, and keep social distance.