Not A Player

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

A month or so ago I started playing an online scrabble game with a
random opponent. It was late at night and I was bored and let the
computer find me an available player. He was good and we seemed
well matched so I continued. We began messaging while we played,
mostly light-hearted banter about who had scored more points. But
then his word choice began to become disturbing. Words of a sexual
nature and with very personal implications. I kept my answers very
minimal and did not rise to the bait. I have also not responded to his
virtually daily requests to play again, which I decline. But I am very
troubled by what feels like a mild form of cyber stalking. I know this is
nothing compared to people who are bullied or defamed, but it is
invasive. Is there more I can do?

Not A Player

Dear Not A Player:

Don’t even decline the invitations. Simply don’t reply. See if there’s a
way for the software to block his invitations. Email the app provider
and ask if there is a way you cannot receive them. Ask what their anti-
stalking policy is. Explain what you told me and see if they have

The joys of cyber-space are many but so are the risks. It helps to have
intelligent filters on what you post and the invitations you accept. For
example, saying you’re leaving for a long vacation is an invitation to
thieves. Ditto anything that suggests your daily schedule. Game
playing should be more innocent but you may be better of sticking to
partnering with folks you know. Not everyone who’s awake in the wee
hours is looking for innocent playmates. You may be better off playing
solitaire than inviting strangers into your world.