A chat room is a virtual space on the Internet where people can socialize. A chat room is often embedded in a web page on the internet where people (with similar interests) meet and “talk”. This is done by typing text messages. The messages are sent to the server and downloaded within the Java application or ActiveX object on the page. Also, the communication protocol of the IRC is used, wherein multiple IRC servers can form a network. One chooses a nickname that is, a pseudonym, and one can sometimes choose an avatar. Sometimes the chat room provides the opportunity to exchange photos.
By registering under a pseudonym, users can remain anonymous. Young people often use a turbo phonetic language that is unintelligible to many adults. For teens chat is one of the most popular forms of communication and Internet activities.
There are open and closed chat rooms. Open chat rooms are displayed on a website, closed chat rooms require a download. An open chat room where you sign up with a “nickname” (pseudonym), is accessible to everyone. You do not know who you will meet there and you do not know if someone is who / what he / she claims to be. This can be viewed as exciting but can also be risky.
Open chat rooms have a system where chatters private conversations are randomly placed in one-on-one with the push of a button. Chatting via instant messaging program such as Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) and Yahoo! Messenger differs from chatting in an open chat because you need permission.
Risks and Safety
Fakers, or people with dubious intentions on a chat log, are a major problem in chat rooms. Many dubious characters may try to engage in nefarious acts such as buffoonery, stalking, cyber bullying, commercial fraud and other undesirable practices. For this reason it is often advised not to provide personal information and censor or ban some chatters who exhibit any funny tendencies.
Moderators and registration requirements can contribute to the safety of a a social networking site. Some open chat rooms are “guarded” by a moderator who follows the exhanges and may decide to remove certain messages (eg because of obscene or racist language).
Many chat rooms also have age requirements. A teen chat is example for people 12 to 18, an adult or erotic chat for 18 +, and then there are sometimes chatrooms for other age groups. This measure is also fairly easy to get around because they can fill that one wants.
For some people, especially when they are insufficient satisfaction from their own social life, a chat can be highly addictive. This was already the case with the telephone chat rooms, with high phone bills (up to more than a thousand euros) as a result.