Warning: Read This Before You Join Pen Pal World or Other Pen Pal Sites

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Photo: FirmBee

Are Pen Pal World and other Pen Pal Websites really safe?

While sending snail mail has become less common over time, pen pals are arguably making a comeback. Fortunately, if you’d like to explore this new hobby, there are many sites available to help you find and connect with a pen pal. (Here are 27 of the best sites with quick summaries of their features to save you some time.)

But before you dive into writing strangers you find online, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved, as well as the security features that can help you safely participate.

Below are a few quick bullet points about important features you can look for at Pen Pal World and other similar sites, followed by a quick point-by-point summary of how Pen Pal World ranks in terms of security.

Here are some helpful features to look for on Pen Pal World or other pen pal websites:

  • The option to create a personal profile that briefly describes you as well as the sort of person or experience you’re looking for.
  • A large number of participants who represent a variety of cultures and interests to choose from, and who have recently indicated they are still open to participating. (Beware: Some sites still list inactive users from the past who may no longer be actively participating.)
  • Search filters that allow you to narrow down the possible pen pals using criteria like language or occupation. Or, the option to set preferences for the age, gender, and region of your pen pal.
  • The option to receive phone or email notifications when there is activity on your account, so you don’t have to remember to keep logging into the website

But these are the most important security features that often get overlooked:

  • The option to search waiting pen pals without having to publicly post your own personal information.
  • The ability to change your privacy settings to reduce the amount of personal information posted publicly online or limit who can contact you and how they can reach out to you.
  • The possibility to participate free of charge and without inappropriate ads flashing on your screen or pop-ups interrupting your experience. Some sites, especially those hosted internationally, have been known to advertise adult content.
  • A built-in inbox that allows you to get to know someone before exchanging email or snail mail addresses.

Here’s what you need to know about Pen Pal World specifically.

Pen Pal World does, like many other sites, allow you to create your own profile as well as choose which users you would like to add as “friends.” In addition, it takes the extra precaution of reviewing profile pictures, so inappropriate photos are removed.

Pen Pal World also provides a built-in inbox for sending and receiving messages.

In addition to these more standard features, children have the ability to BLOCK all adult users. And any user can choose to block specific users (or even entire countries) individually.

It is also possible to flag inappropriate messages as well as to to cancel your participation at any time.

Ready to join in the pen pal fun? Find Pen Pal sites here, as well as information on how to write your first letter and a list of 100+ simple topics to talk about with your pen pal.

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