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An electronic space, typically a website or a section of an online service, where people can go to communicate online in real time.
Chat rooms are often organized around specific interests, such as small business owners, gardening, politics, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to use my real identity in a chat room?
No. Chat rooms provide a level of anonymity not possible in most real-world settings. While you can create a full profile that exactly reflects the everyday you, complete with a recent photo, you don’t have to. You can create any persona you wish, and instead of using a photo you can use an avatar that represents the online you. Even in video chat rooms, you don’t have to use your real name. Of course, this level of anonymity comes with a price. While it allows you the freedom to be anyone you choose, it also means the people you chat with online may be doing exactly the same thing.
Are chat rooms safe?
Unless you are chatting with people you know in person, there is often no way of knowing whether or not the people we talk to online are using their real names and providing real information about their lives. Even worse, there is no way of knowing what information people are leaving out about themselves. Are they identity thieves, looking to win your trust in order to steal your money? Sexual predators hoping to lure an unsuspecting victim? Or maybe just completely different in real life to the way appear online. It’s important to remember that no matter how well you think you know people you meet online, that may not be the true them at all.
This is not to say you should avoid chat rooms. Chat rooms can be wonderful places to share ideas, enjoy great conversations, and meet some wonderful people. Who knows, you might even meet your future partner. But always be cautious. Never give out your personal information to someone you meet online. Never send money to them. Never let them know where you live. And if you decide to meet them in person, choose a public location and bring someone else along with you. For more information about chat room safety, review our Safety Tips and Safety Tips for Parents.
Where can I find chat rooms?
There are thousands of chat rooms available online for all sorts of interests. If you’re not sure what type of chat room you would like to join, you can start with sites that host multiple chat rooms, such as Paltalk, ICQ Chat Rooms, and Chatrooms.org. Some types of instant messaging and video conferencing apps also offer groups, where users can log in to discuss shared interests. These services list groups by subject, so you can browse and test out some groups that sound interesting. If you already know what type of group you want to join, try doing a web search for that topic and include the term “chat room” in your query. You can also search for specific formats, such as video, voice, or text chatrooms.