Chat rooms are popular, real-time modes of Internet
communication used to initiate, establish, and maintain online relationships.
The online equivalent of CB radiowhere one person talks and anyone
listening in can hear and respondchat rooms are usually text based,
but text can consist of links to Web pages.
You must join a chat room to participate in it. Chat rooms can
be public (accessible to anyone) or private (by invitation only). They
can be based on interestsmovies, sports, hobbiesor simply
serve as a venue for meeting people. There are even chat rooms that facilitate
online gaming communities, where people assume digital visual representations,
called avatars, and interact with each other in cyberspace role-playing
Some chat rooms have an employee or volunteer monitor who keeps tabs on
language, content, and behavior. Unless you know otherwise, however, its
best to assume that any given chat room is unmonitored.
- Because conversations in unmonitored chat rooms
are usually not restricted, they can become sexual in nature, covering
topics ranging from sexual concerns to actual cybersex
activity. These types of discussions can come from strangers seeking
to establish relationships with young children or teens. Sexual
predators find the chat-room forum to be an easy way to search
for a potential victim.
- Children can also deliberately access off-limits
content by requesting sexually explicit images from chat-room participants
or by visiting a chat room named so as to attract people interested
in sexual conversation.