Teens & Chat Rooms
By Joel B.
Chat rooms have become a real problem for teens these days. Come to think about it, chat rooms can even be dangerous for adults. You never know who’s lurking behind that well thought out moniker known as the “screen name.” Is she really a “she” or is he really a “boy.” The problem with chatting is you just never know who you’re really speaking with. Let’s explore this a little further and focus in on some dangers of chatting.
Webcams & “Perving”
I’ve visited my share of chat rooms in the past. In fact, on a very rare occasion I’ll still have one of my friends ask me to visit a chat room with them and I’ll oblige. Typically I don’t chat with people in private. I just engage in general banter with people in the main chat rooms. However, I have learned that teens (and adults) engage in what they call “perving.” This is where they look for girls with open cams who are showing too much. Of all parts of the body, the Holy Bible tells us to especially guard our eyes (Luke 11:34-35). So, I would advise staying away from chat rooms where girls are displaying their bodies like this, and even avoid clicking on webcams altogether. You never know what you’re going to see on the other end.
Cyber-bullies are all over the Internet. Some of us call them “keyboard warriors”, because they’re tough behind a computer screen when there is no one their to discipline them . A lot of times these bullies lack social skills and will do anything to get attention. The truth about all bullies is many of them have tough family lives, and to them “negative attention” is better than “no attention” at all. They’ll make a spectacle of themselves even if people dislike them for it. So my suggestion for dealing with cyber-bullies is to ignore them. Don’t react how they want you to react, which is with any form of attention. If you must say something to them; ask them if Jesus approves of their behavior. If they don’t react positively, then it’s time to click the “ignore” button next to their name.
The “Tell-Me-More” Factor
Have you ever been in a chat room and someone just kept on snooping around for your personal information. If you see this happening, then this is a good time to disengage. The person may be trying to “hook up” with you, and many times these “hook ups” don’t go as you expected. People on the other end often put up a false front and you end up with a mess on your hands. So, be careful not to give away things like last names, addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, and other contact information.
Let me pose a question? Where do you suppose sexual predators look for teenage boys and girls to take advantage of. I’m just going to take a guess and say it’s in chat rooms. Probably, but not limited to, location specific chat rooms (Detroit, Chicago, New York, etc). Again, be on guard with what you reveal. If you must be on webcam, make sure you’re limiting access to known friends, and that you’re practicing awareness of the “tell-me-more factor” I just spoke about. Don’t try to “hook up” with anybody and certainly don’t give them your personal information.
A Final Word
Friends. Teens. Chatting can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Don’t go over-the-top with your chatting. Limit your chatting to the main chat rooms and make sure your parents know which ones you’re visiting. Even Christian chat rooms can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Stay on guard and practice safe chat habits. Stay alert and stay safe. Thank you for reading and God bless.