Feel the need to reach out and touch someone, live and (almost) in person? Chat puts you online in a live conversation with other Internet users anywhere in the world.
And whereas chatting used to require a high degree of technical understanding, that's no longer the case. It used to require downloading a software program ”a chat client ”and installing it on your computer. Now, however, more and more people simply chat using their browser, through one of hundreds of sites that offer it.
Instant messaging is another way of reaching out and touching someone. What began as an America Online “only exercise is now available to anyone on the Web.
You might as well know that a substantial amount of chat traffic on the Internet is dedicated to sex chats of various persuasions and fetishes. There are many sex chat rooms, and sex-chat “oriented chatters often wander into non “sex-oriented rooms looking for new friends .
If that's okay with you, have fun. Live and let live, I always say, especially between consenting adults. But if you have an aversion to such stuff, tread carefully in chat. If you have a severe aversion to it, it's best to stay out of chat altogether.
And regardless of your own interests, I strongly advise against permitting children to use chat, especially unsupervised . My warning isn't about sex, but about safety. You'll find more about kids and chat in Chapter 14, "Enjoying Safe Family Fun and Games."