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What's a Chat Room?

Free online chat room is a place on the Internet where you can have live, real-time conversations with many people at the same time. It's like a conference call except that you type instead of talk. Everyone can see what everyone else writes, but people don't need to know who you are.


Adult chat rooms are one of the most popular and interactive places on the Net. There are different levels of supervision in online chat rooms: some are open rooms with no one supervising and some use electronic monitors that scan conversations for specific words and then issue automated warnings if they come across inappropriate language. Other sites have leaders who guide the discussion, or monitors who preview what people write before anyone else gets to see it. If people misbehave, these monitors or leaders can give them a warning or kick them out.


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The Good News

* In monitored online chat rooms you can meet people from around the world who share your interests in a safe and kid-friendly environment.
* You can chat one-on-one with people you might not otherwise be in touch with: teachers, community leaders, or experts.
* You can participate in an online chat community where you're not judged based on how you look.

The Bad News

* Adult chat room discussions may become sexual or violent, or they may promote hate against others.
* You may be harassed. Because some people feel totally anonymous in chat rooms, they believe they can act any way they want. Girls in particular may receive crude or sexual comments.
* Chat rooms are cruising grounds for pedophiles and other predators who want to make contact with young people. Because kids feel free to be honest when they're chatting online, conversations can quickly become intimate.
* Online relationships with strangers in adult chat rooms can lead to your being cyberstalked, sent pornography, or pressured to arrange a real-world meeting.
* You could become involved in risk-taking activities. Some older kids deliberately participate in online flirting, sexual chat or cybersex.
* Online chat room participants can end up hurting others. "Flaming," where you make personal insults or disrespect a person, is common in chat rooms.


Some Quick Facts about Kids and File-Sharing

* Over half of 11-12-year-olds visit chat rooms and one-third of those kids visit private or adult chat areas.
* Three-quarters of kids ages 13-14 visit chat rooms, with half those kids visiting private or adult chat areas.
* More than four in ten youth say they have met someone new on the Internet who asked for information, such as their photo, phone number, street address or school.
* 15% of youth have met an Internet friend in person. Most took a friend or went alone.
* 12% of those who met an Internet friend in person said it was a "bad experience".


Adult chat Room Guidelines

If you're participating in adult chat, use monitored chat rooms.
Online chat rooms are monitored in different ways. Some sites run software that automatically shut people out for using certain words, while others use real people who follow the conversations. Your best bet is a chat room from a reputable site for teens with adult monitors. Remember, just because a online chat room is monitored, there's nothing to stop an adult from pretending to be a child and joining in the conversation.

Protect your personal identity in adult chat rooms
This is probably the most important thing for you to remember. Never reveal information about yourself, your friends or your family when in a chat room. Use gender-neutral nicknames, so that no one can tell what sex you are. And remember that nothing is private on the Internet. Many adult chat rooms archive or store chat conversations and make them available on the Web.

Watch out for leading questions
Predators are very good at digging for information from prospective victims. They ask lots of questions that appear to be innocent, but are really fishing for clues so they can find out where you live or go to school. If someone asks too many questions, be careful.

Don't leave the public area of a chat room
Some free online chat rooms offer users the option of going into private rooms or sharing a private message (PM) that no one else can see or monitor. Always keep your conversations in the public area of a chat room.

Remember, you're in control
You don't have to respond if a message makes you feel uncomfortable or frightened. Tell an adult right away and avoid that chat room in the future.

Never arrange to meet someone from a online chat room without informing a parent or other adult first.

Any meeting with an online friend should take place in a busy, public place - and with an adult present.

Getting the Goods on Stranger Danger

A great thing about the Internet is that you can talk to people without being judged by how you look, how you speak, or whether or not you're cool. Unfortunately, though, the same technology that lets you communicate without being judged by your appearance may also help online predators trick you. Those same chat rooms that attract kids and teens are also going to attract people who want to exploit them, because there's nothing that prevents those people from pretending to be a young person.

Many online predators are smart and patient. They take their time getting to know potential targets and will often groom three or four kids at the same time. They earn trust through the use of attention, affection, kindness and even gifts. They are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money and energy to this process. They listen to, and empathize with, your problems and will often be aware of your interests, hobbies and taste in music. In other words, if an online chat friend seems too good to be true, or an instant soul mate, your antennae should be up! Some predators try to lower young people's inhibitions by gradually introducing sexual comments into their conversations; others immediately start talking about sex.

The trick is in knowing when you can trust someone online. When the Media Awareness Network asked a group of adolescent girls how long it took for them to feel that they could trust an online friend, their answers ranged from "15 minutes" to "two weeks." The reality is that bad things do happen, and what's scarier, is that many young people try to deal with negative experiences like these on their own. Online stalking is more than upsetting - it's illegal for adults to try and lure young people, so you have a right to ask an adult for help if this happens.

Predators know that eventually they're going to have to admit who they are. What they're counting on is that by then, they will have built such a solid relationship with you, that you will "forgive" them. Others will use previous conversations or their knowledge about your family or friends as a way to blackmail you into a real-life meeting. In some cases, online predators are able to fool kids about their identities right up to a real-life meeting - which can easily put you in danger. That's why it pays to take an adult with you when meeting an online friend. If they have nothing to hide, they won't object.

A flip-side of this problem is when teens visit free online chat rooms looking for sexual discussions (called "cybersex" or "cybering"). Some young people do this because they like to tease people they consider "creeps" or "perverts." Others see sexual chat as a way to experiment sexually from the safety of their own computers. It's true that you can't get pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted disease from online sex, but you can end up being harassed or even blackmailed by the person you are cybering with. Most teens think they can't be traced, but the truth is, if someone really wants to find out who you are online, there are many tricks - and even software - to help them discover your identity.

You Are Smarter - Be a Detective

Luckily, if people can find out about you, then you can find out about them. If you want to know more about an online acquaintance, and the chat room you're in saves conversation threads, take a look through the archives to see if that person is saying the same things to other people as he or she is saying to you.

If you have an e-mail address for that person, you can go to a Web site like Visual Ware and download software that traces IP addresses through e-mail addresses. Even Hotmail addresses can be traced back to a city of origin. If the person you're corresponding with says they're from sunny California, and the city of origin for their e-mal address turns out to be Sudbury, you should wonder what else they're not being honest about!

Because an IP address is like a telephone number for a computer, it can be important information for you to have. That way, if an online acquaintance turns out to be nasty, police can use their IP address to track them. Letting an online acquaintance know that you have this information can also make you a less desirable target if they are up to no good.

Be sure to visit the online dating site of easydate123 or any other reputable online dating site for all your online dating news and online dating site needs.

Think about it...

* How can you tell that the person you're chatting with is who they say they are?
* How can you tell when a person is fishing for information about you?
* Are there any sure-fire ways to protect your identity when participating in online chat?
* Why do so many kids and teens feel they have to deal with negative experiences on their own?
* How do you feel about the sexual comments, insults or foul language that seem to dominate many chat rooms?
* What kind of free online chat room supervision do you think is best for kids? For teens? Would you meet an online acquaintance in real life? What safeguards would you take?


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