‘Surfing’ the Internet can be a useful way to find information. However, keep in mind that the information you find may not always be accurate. Use careful judgment, and check what type of organisation has put the information on the internet.
The Internet can be accessed using a personal computer at home, or at local libraries and in internet cafés. If you’re not able to access the Internet, you can ask the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 to print out information from websites and send it to you.
Blogs and discussion forums
When looking for information and support, you may find online blogs or discussion forums where people post messages online. Some discussion forums or bulletin boards are only open to registered list members. Others are accessible to the general public. Blogs are where people post their story or views and invite other people to comment. Remember that anyone can post information online and it pays to be cautious about believing everything you read.
Below are some tips to consider when participating in online forums.
- Remember that everyone is different. Hearing from other women who have gone through treatment can be a great comfort and being in contact with them is a wonderful way of being supported. Just remember that what works for some women may not work as well for others. And naturally, people will have different views about what matters to them.
- Respect different views, experiences and interests. Advice and opinion from strangers online is not always gratefully received! Mutual respect is the way to go, especially in forums and blogs.
- Protect your privacy. Some online relationships, such as those developed on a support group website, may lead to meetings in person. The social norms around online communication are changing rapidly and a degree of caution in making personal details and photos publicly available online is advised.
- Manage your registration and log-in. Some websites and online communication tools such as forums and blogs require registration. You might get more information in return for providing some personal details. Look at the site’s privacy and data usage policies before registering and follow the standard recommendations for password creation (use a mixture of numbers and upper and lower case letters).
- Don't forget the phone and the mail. If there’s something you’re interested in but you can’t get hold of it online, why not make a phone call or ask for it to be sent to you? Some organisations provide the same information in different formats for your convenience.