Well, I can only speak myself, of course, so what I say may not reflect other folk's opinions.
I've been here a number of years and met a lot of A2Ker's, who have met other A2Kers, so I know them and they know me and such and such knows such and such, as much as is possible when talking cyberly - so I feel safe with whom I PM with.
However, I do think that many folk would be wary of talking to a young lady privately, without at least ensuring other members were aware they were doing so. There's a number of reasons for this - one being that it would be for their protection too if they are conversing with a young teenager.
The problem is, with Private Messaging, no-one else can see those messages - not even the mods - so I would imagine a number of people would rather not talk with a young lady in a closed space because it could, not would
, but could be misconstrued in some way.
I'm 46 and only starting talking on the internet around 3.5 - 4 yrs ago - I had never talked with folk cyberly or on a forum - and I still know people here for watch out for me - so it's not just an age thing - it is very easy to be drawn in to talking to someone personally. You may think that everyone is trustworthy, but you really don't know who you're talking to - and it's easy to let slip personal details as you start chatting. I think I'm a good judge of character, but I have proved myself wrong on that one before so I am pretty careful now who I talk to privately. If I were to be meeting a person - I would ensure that some people knew about it.
I think, and again, just my opinion, that some people would just say "hi" back - but they could probably do that openly on a thread if they wished to.
This is only my perspective, so I'm sure if anyone wants to put another point of view forward, they will do so.
We had another young lady here at the end of last year who didn't live far from me in the UK. I was PM conversing just for a brief time about services available to her in our country that she could access to get some counselling - but I could prove who I was, as I work in a primary school, so it would have been easy for her parents to check me out and contact my Headteacher - which they may well have done to see if I was who I said I was.
Of course, for all I know, she could have been 'anyone' - and I fell for it... who knows. I went with a judgement call and gut instinct that what she said was the truth. It could have come back and bitten me on the bahookie tho, had I been wrong.
I didn't give her the details on a thread of the services available because that would have disclosed where she lived. I also asked her to ensure that her parents knew she was talking with me. Even so, I was very aware of what I said and didn't keep it secret from other members that I had exchanged PM's with her - that was to protect myself as well as to make it clear to her that tho what she said privately would remain private, that I would not get into any compromising situation.
See - it get's a little complicated if you think it through.
As I say, I'm 46 - and the internet can still be a scary place - but I am an adult so I am wholly responsible for myself.
I think if people are around, they will chat on threads - I'm not telling you what to do because I don't have the right to do that, but I am a Mom and would just advise caution.