Chat room operators across the internet are constantly reassuring the public that their chat rooms are monitored and are "safe". However, we often find that the news is filled with predators, stalkers and horror stories, when most of the time instant chat sessions online can be time-saving, useful and productive. For instance, some online chat programs have evolved and become programs that users install onto their computers. Once installed, these programs allow you to add contacts to other people who have the program such as friends, family or colleagues.
You are then able to use a number of cool communication features such as voice, text chat or video conferencing with your contacts. You're safety here is totally guaranteed.no user can actually contact you unless they know you and even if some unsavory person found your contact details, you could ban them with ease.
Often, the problems arise in public chat rooms that are not monitored. If personal information is swapped on these sites it could become a possible security hazard. But usually, as with most things, the people who have been caught in situations where their safety is compromised have simply been negligent. Who gives out their personal information online?? I certainly wouldn't. Especially not to a complete stranger.
It always amazes me how people blame the chat systems and not themselves when something goes wrong. Adults who have been scammed/robbed/etc because of chatting in chat rooms are solely responsible for what happened to them. You hear often of how the "big problem" is the particular chat system that the perpetrator used. This is often arid nonsense. Chat rooms are no more dangerous than walking down the street.
Would you stop and talk to a complete stranger and give him/her your home address? I seriously doubt it. So why do people do it online? The problem of children accessing chat rooms is another issue, however. Children are not as vigilant as adults and may give this kind of information out without thinking much of it. This is the opinion of many parents and guardians.
However, this is certainly not my stand. Children have brains, and have warning sensors much like adults when it comes to possible dangers. The problem comes with parents not teaching and instructing their children about the possible safety problems online. It seems either parents don't bother with their child's safety, or worse, stop their kids from participating in these chat rooms altogether. With profanity filters and chat room monitoring nowadays, the only way a child, or an adult, for that matter, can get him/herself into trouble is by acting with total disregard on these chat sites.
It is becoming harder and harder for criminals to operate on the net, and chat rooms are becoming safer and safer. Chat rooms nowadays are so safe that I believe anyone who compromises their safety in chat rooms is entirely at fault. In short - don't blame the system.
it works for 99.9% of folks, and doesn't for the 0.01% for a reason.
Lloyd Lopes is the co-owner of a Chat Room site in South Africa