Chat Rooms Online: Pros and Cons
In a world that enables us to get practically anything we want with the push of a few buttons; the online chat environment is no exception. People crave social contact, but what are the pros and cons?
Chat rooms are among the many digital platforms that contribute to the vast social activities within the online digital space. There is a never-ending thirst for people who crave social interactions.
People wanting to chat online can choose from a huge variety of chat rooms with other users who are also looking for the same thing. When comparing chat rooms to face to face introductions, there are pros and cons, so what are they?
Without the option to chat with people in a spontaneous manner, many people struggle when there is no human-to-human contact, beit virtual or in person. At times, it’s not uncommon for people to feel as though they cannot share their most inner feelings with their closest friends or families – they won’t understand what you are going through, or you don’t want to burden them.
Sharing sensitive feelings with people you are close to often doesn’t sit well with us, you may feel embarrassed or awkward in revealing details to your friends – this is not uncommon. The fact is many people can relate to this hence why chat rooms are an appealing option offering a level of anonymity so you can express yourself with any recourse.
Even still, not all chat room users will find the same benefits as other users. However, the overall appeal with a chat room as a general rule enhances confidence and facilitates the opportunity to chat about things, and to open up about feelings that people would normally avoid in a real-life scenario – this is typically what entices the majority of chat room users.
Let’s explore the pros and cons
- Privacy and anonymity
- Helping you to discuss various views by meeting new people
- Enabling the opportunity to see other perspectives from a variety of cultures
- The ability to connect with other users according to gender, location and age
- Enhances your objectives based on interests and goals
- Most chat rooms are completely free
- Expand your though processes through unbiased opinions
Experimenting with chatting to people online opens the door to meeting people with common interests even though you don’t know these people in the same intimate way as your friends and family. Even though this may sound like a downside to using chat rooms, it can also prove to be of enormous benefit by seeking multiple perspectives from strangers as opposed to perspectives from people well-known to you.
Your loved ones will possibly come across as biased in your favor rather than seeing a certain situation from an objective point of view.
Further, you may be the type of person who isn’t comfortable in sharing your feelings and emotions, and by using chat rooms allows you to express yourself with written communication rather than verbal communication.
People can find a level of comfort and safety in not having to share their deepest feelings via a real-life face to face environment. For those who are experiencing low confidence and anxiety, a chat room environment removes many barriers in the form of anonymity with a virtual barrier.
You may have considered, or even taken part in social media group discussions based on certain topics. Even though this is a useful strategy, there is always the risk of your comments and communications being seen by people you know. In contrast, a chat room hides your identity and there is never the risk of coming across someone you know personally, unless you choose to do so.
In addition, there’s a level of solidarity and peace of mind associated with chatting to a variety of people who can relate to your own set of unique circumstances. Your closest friends and family members will always be there for support; however, they cannot always comprehend what you are dealing with.
Another important aspect of using chat rooms is that they can help people who are feeling alone and isolated. There is a level of comfort knowing there is always someone there at a moment’s notice whenever life’s challenges bear down on you.
Bottling up our feelings can have serious mental health ramifications. Simply by sharing your feelings in an anonymous way can be enough to cool things down a bit by knowing someone is listening and responding so you can reset your thoughts into a calmer state of mind.
- It’s easy for other people to be dishonest and you can’t always be sure who you are talking to
- Using chat rooms make you an easy target if you are feeling vulnerable. People may see this as a way to take advantage of you
- Spending significant time online can alienate you from friends and family
The majority of people you meet online have good intentions and want to help. The thing is, we don’t always know what the real motivation is with people you chat too online.
For instance, online bullying is rampant within most forms of online communication channels, including chat rooms. Whilst it’s good to have anonymity for your own peace of mind, this anonymity also applies to online bullies and trolls hence facilitating a platform for bullies to attack others usually without any recourse or justice.
Chat rooms make it easy to gain someone’s trust the longer the online relationship exists. The internet provides a false sense of reality. A key takeaway in chat room safety is to never disclose personal information, including your social media profiles, until such time that you have taken the necessary steps to feel comfortable and safe.
There are many forms of online and offline support available if you need help. Try not to rely only on a chat room for help, think of chat rooms as just one of many help resources. By spending too much time using chat rooms, you run the risk of neglecting to nurture your personal relationships in the real world.
The bottom line for using online chat services is that Interacting with people both online and offline is a fundamental rule for maintaining and fostering your inter-personal relationships.
People continue to meet new friends and find romance online every minute of every day. Some of which lead to long lasting and committed relationships. Unfortunately, there are also vast amounts of people who have been betrayed by people who target the vulnerable and lonely.
When someone is betrayed from a chat room environment, this betrayal usually involves an online predator stealing your money.
While online chat rooms provide a level of safety when you need to open up or vent to someone about your feelings, be careful! Showing signs of loneliness or vulnerability makes you a legitimate target to attract online predators. A bit of online savviness goes a long way.
Other helpful chat room tips
If you are using chat rooms with the main purpose being to chat to people in a casual or social manner, the focus for you should be to simply keep your online safety in check.
If however you are seeking out advice in a deeper and more meaningful way, you also need to focus on protecting your emotional safety and well-being too. The following tips will help you to remain safe while you explore the ins and outs of online chat.
- Chat rooms might not be right for your situation
Seeking out digital therapy is a trend that is growing in user uptake, particularly due to time restraints when people simply do not have the time to visit their local therapist or counselor.
Some chat rooms offer effective solutions to enable people who need support to chat live online with support volunteers. However, this is not always the most practical approach if a higher level of support is needed by a licensed therapist in order to get the appropriate level of help.
If you find you are not getting the right level of support using chat rooms, you should seriously consider making time to arrange a face to face in-person therapy appointment via a referral from your local medical practitioner.
- Some chat rooms are not legitimate or trustworthy
When you are searching for chat room services, always take the time to research each particular site to establish its legitimacy. It’s easy to be lured into using a chat room without realizing the hidden dangers.
While there are several chat sites which are highly credible, the truth is that many sites have low safeguards which attract cyber-scammers with intentions of stealing your money. Before you sign up, remember that research is key.
- Many therapy chat sites do more harm than good
There are some fantastic resources online to get support when you need it. However, never let your guard down and be aware that some individuals make a career out of tricking vulnerable people into believing they are receiving legitimate help.
If you are ever in the situation when an online therapist asks you for money in leu of their services, make sure you have taken every precaution to ensure you are dealing with a Bonafide online therapist, and that you are not being redirected to a bogus payment gateway website.
More specific details on protecting yourself when you are using chat rooms can be found here.