Online chat rooms have become very popular over the past few years and as technology advances more teenagers find themselves spending time on them. As well as finding a place on the Internet for social and recreational purposes they are also being used by adults looking for a quick intimate chat with a partner or friend. What is the big deal about online chat rooms?
A chat room is defined as being like an older style phone chat line but the participants are typing with their mouths instead of their fingers, so there is no one else around to see them. It is very common for young people to make new friends through these online chat rooms. It is also common for those with adult interests to use them to meet like minded people. Online chat rooms are usually open to anyone, even those who have unsecured online accounts. If you do not wish to reveal your identity, you will still be able to make new friends and share ideas and thoughts with like minded people. Some of the best chat rooms are free to join and some charge a small fee to use.
These chat rooms are a great way of chatting to other people and they provide a safe haven for those wishing to prey on children. There are people on these sites who prey upon children and there are also those who are looking for dates. The dangers of online chatting, go far beyond the dangers of picking up a date or becoming a victim of child pornography. The most worrying dangers of chat rooms are posed by the online predators. Here are some of the things you should know about them:
o Anyone can access and view the profiles of those who use online chat rooms. Children often share their rooms with their classmates and there is no way to stop them from seeing this information. It is easy for online predators to search for their victims using the rooms that children frequent. As well, many times these predators will pay others to pose as children in the hope that they will talk to those who are posing as children.
o Child pornography is often made available in internet chat rooms. When you are on one of these websites you are vulnerable to viewing images of naked adults. Some of these images are linked to sexual offences and this can result in you placing your children in danger. This is because there is no way of checking what images are actually showing on the internet.
o Many online chat rooms now allow you to send private messages to another person. While this might sound like fun, it is actually a very dangerous act. All it takes is for someone to misinterpret your message as something else and then take steps to contact you. Private messages also include the possibility of exposing your child to sexual offenders.
o The last danger is one that is not discussed much. Although you may want to meet someone on an online message boards, you can never be sure that they are telling the truth. In fact, many people are honest and do not lie about their identity. However, they may want to lie about other things. If you ever give out your home address or phone number online then you may want to be careful.
Now that you understand the potential dangers of online chat rooms you need to be careful. Do not allow anyone onto your computer. Check the information you give when you first start using internet services. When in doubt, block someone from accessing your computer. Also, consider limiting where you go online and using parental controls to keep your children safe.