Not too long ago, the Internet was used as an information portal. However, with the immense progress in technology, the Internet is used today as a complete entertainment portal, and that entails social networking. One rampant use of the Internet today is chatting. Chatting became very popular in the early days of the Internet, and led to the development of various programs for chatting, like MiRC, ICQ, MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and the like. Today, even after the initial frenzy is over, there is a huge popularity for chat rooms, and sites and programs for chatting continue to be developed.
Early Chat Rooms
Previously, chat rooms were basically a simple way to coordinate and conference around the globe, pertaining and catering to many concepts. A chat room is basically a page or a place (online) where many like-minded people come together to share their thoughts, ideas, and information. Such chat rooms can have a general topic, or can be very specialized in nature. As such, good chat rooms can help you if you are looking for something, or need some information, or if you are just looking to make friends online.
When it started, there were many programs that were just dedicated to chatting, like MiRC, which allowed users to either join an existing chat room, or to create their own chat room, that could be then moderated according to certain guidelines. These were chat rooms where you could find users chatting from anything to everything under the sun. This was, of course, not ideal, and had many drawbacks, the main one being the authenticity of the person you were chatting with.
Such chat rooms also came under criticism because they were not moderated properly. This meant that there was a huge number of people chatting on illegal topics, which ranged from child pornography to hacking to arms and ammunition. This partly led to the development of the newer chat rooms of today, most of which remain browser-based, and not stand-alone programs.
Chat Rooms Today
Today there are companies and Internet entities which offer only chat services. Some chat rooms are made in 3D wherein the interaction and features is light years ahead of the first chat room. It is difficult to ascertain whether chat rooms are the benefactors or catalysts of the immense popularity of Instant Messaging, commonly known as IM or PM (personal messaging). While speaking about Internet messaging and chat rooms, it is simply a case of whether the hen or the egg came first.
Chat rooms can be made for anything and everything, a common like and dislike, a much followed game, or in some cases, shared views and sexuality. Possibly the best chat rooms will be rooms pertaining to one's tastes, along with the factors that make any good software - usability,features, economy, flexibility and adaptability. The Internet has long been known to be an unpolicable society, and the same goes for chat rooms. While some chat rooms are run with the express and implicit need of networking for people, there are other chat rooms which have other unscrupulous intentions.
Some chat rooms are just socially irresponsible and may act as a catalyst in exposing children to mature content. Therefore, the need of the day is to find chat rooms which offer safe, wholesome and family entertainment and interaction. Chat services are generally free and require a prospective chatter to just register with the chat services with a genuine e-mail id. However, there are various chat providers who charge a fee for accessing their chat rooms. Free chat rooms will generally have advertisements, while paid chat services do not have advertisements. One should be careful while accessing free chat rooms, because they may not be good for your computer's health. Such free chat rooms may sometimes have a barrage of advertisements, which may install spyware or ad-ware in your computer.
There are other chat rooms hosted by various government and non-government organizations, which act as a support group for a number of reasons, for example domestic violence, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies. These chat rooms are a good option to phone calls or letters, as they are safe, free and readily available. There are various ways of searching for good chat rooms. More often than not, companies and portals offering chat services will have a general chat area, which is open to all and deals with content suitable for people of all ages and both genders. These chat rooms are good for a beginner to understand chat rules, ethics and other general guidelines to behavior in a chat room.
Other Internet portals have region-centric chat rooms, which are chat rooms if you wish to speak and interact with people of your own region or ethnicity. Other than these, there are children-centric websites which have chat rooms dedicated towards kid stuff. These chat rooms are good for your child to be exposed to the cyber world in a healthy and safe manner.
Finding a Good Chat Room
You will never know if a chat room is good unless you try it out first. If it seems to be what you are looking for, then you may like it, else not. Luckily there are various options available should you not like a particular chat room. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine if a chat room is good or not.
- Does the chat room have any rules and regulations. Most reputable chat rooms have a list of what is okay and what is not. Check to see if there are any safety guidelines that can help you. Check if the chat room requires people to register. Chat rooms where users have to register is generally safer than ones where you can just chat as a guest.
- See if the chat room is moderated or not. Moderated chat rooms are much safer, and if users misbehave they can be ejected from the room. Also check if the chat room is age, gender, or topic specific. This can help you find chat rooms that you will like faster.
- Chat rooms will never ask for your personal information. Services which require you to register will ask for a valid email address, but other than that no other personal information should be asked for.
When all is said and done, even good chat rooms will have people who are not what they seem or portray. For this reason, it is advisable to never meet anyone from a chat room in real life. Also remember, you never really know the person you may be chatting with, and it is foolhardy, not to mention dangerous, to give away any personal details. Finding good chat rooms may not be difficult, but always remember to be careful.