Going to web pages where lots of people can type messages that are seen by everyone else on that page in real time is called "chatting." The pages are usually called "chat rooms." There are chat rooms dedicated to any topic imaginable. If you're into collecting 1970s-era fly paper, then you can probably find a place to chat with others who love it as much as you do. Going to a chat room isn't necessarily dangerous. It's what you say there that may get you into trouble. So what do you tell your kids to help them avoid the potential dangers?
  • Don't post messages that contain personal information.
  • There is nothing to stop a 45-year-old sex offender from using the screen name "15yo-qt" (read 15-year-old cutie) in a chat room. The sites don't check.
  • If a chat room is called something like "Teen Music Lovers," you should assume that half of the people in the room are men over the age of 30 who may not even like music. The sites don't check.