FAQ: Why no personal messaging or closed groups?

We don't provide any facility on iSpot for people to send personal messages to each other, or to organise closed groups (groups where only people who have been invited can see what's going on).

This is for two reasons.

Firstly, the aim of iSpot is to help people learn about the natural world and how to identify what they've seen. Reading other people's queries, replies and discussion can be a great way of learning things. We want the site to be as open as possible, and to encourage as much learning as possible.

Secondly, we want to ensure that iSpot is a safe space. By having everything available in public, everybody on the site can help make sure that everyone is behaving reasonably. If you do see something happening that's not right, that is against our Terms of use, please do flag it using the 'Flag as inappropriate' link.

To keep everybody safe, we very strongly suggest that you do not post any information that would identify you personally on the site, including your full name, your home address, telephone number (landline or mobile), email address, or school.

If you are under 16, you may not post this information to the site at all. And you should have your parent or guardian's permission to use the site, and talk to them about staying safe online.

(There are lots of sites offering information and advice about staying safe online, including Get Safe Online, Kidsmart, Thinkuknow, and Childline.)

Don't let all this talk about safety worry you or put you off. With everyone's help, iSpot can be a safe and exciting place for everyone.

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