The anonymous nature of chat rooms tends to inspire exaggerated behavior in otherwise normal, respectful people.One commentator calls chat rooms "safety valves" for strong emotions, opinions and urges that most people can't, or wouldn't want to express in real life [source: The Industry Standard].Various sites, such as Yahoo, provide a directory of chat sites.Others, such as MSN Web Communities, guide users through the steps required to create their own chat room.But the most important rule of all, especially for younger chatters, is never to arrange to meet with someone in real life who you only know from a chat room.For more information on online communications and related topics, check out the helpful links below.Most chat rooms don't require users to have any special software; those that do, such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC) allow users to download it from the Internet.Chat room users register for the chat room of their choice, choose a user name and password, and log into a particular room (most sites have multiple chat rooms).
Over the years, there have been several high-profile news stories concerning adults who have masqueraded as teenagers in chat rooms in order to lure teens into real-life sexual encounters.
Because chat room messages are spontaneous and instantly visible, there is a potential for abuse, which may or may not be intentional.
Site hosts typically post a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list to guide users to appropriate chat room behavior, such as introducing yourself when you enter a room, making it clear when you are directing a question or response to a specific user, and reporting disruptive users, for example.
A chat room is a Web site, part of a Web site, or part of an online service such as America Online, that provides a venue for communities of users with a common interest to communicate in real time.
Forums and discussion groups, in comparison, allow users to post messages but don't have the capacity for interactive messaging.Teens should congregate on sites and services designed for the exclusive use of younger chatters.