Chatting and Messaging

Earlier, I mentioned unwanted sexual solicitations online. Studies show that almost 90% of those solicitations occur in chat rooms.7 I think we can safely say that chat rooms are one of the most dangerous places online, particularly in terms of meeting people that you don’t know in the real world.

Instant messaging and text messaging are much tamer forms of online communication. Instant messaging generally involves an application running on a computer, while text message generally involves text communication between cell phones. In either case, “messaging” can either be a valuable and efficient mode of communication between friends and family, or a potentially destructive and/or time wasting activity that leads teens to social and emotional isolation from their families. In the worst case, instant messaging and text messaging can be used to engage in cyberbullying, build relationships with strangers, or engage in other socially destructive behaviors (such as the distribution of inappropriate pictures taken with the phone’s built-in camera, as mentioned previously).

7 “Internet Crime and Abuse Statistics,” GuardChild.

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