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The Popularity and Dangers of Online Chat

As personal computers have become almost as common in the home as televisions and microwaves, the popularity of online chat has taken communication to a whole new level. Chat rooms are all over the internet on just about any subject one can think of. Online chat brings together people from around the world with similar passions and ideologies who want to share their opinions and thoughts with others. However, online chat can be a dangerous hunting ground for those who live to prey on others. Engaging in online chat requires a measure of skepticism and caution.

Chatting online is another way for predators to get inside people's homes and their pocket books. One such example is the scam predator who will often lure victims through continued communication, befriending their potential victims with praise and support, feeding off their weaknesses and needs. They may further pull their victim in with promises of love and a future together. There are many ruses for these types of predators but the end game is the same. They will find a way to get their victim to send money for one scheme or another with no intention of coming through on the promises they've made.

More disturbing are the sexual predators who troll the internet for young victims, namely vulnerable children. They are experts at gaining a child's trust and friendship. They will commiserate with the child who may be upset with his parents, kids at school, or who feels misunderstood. By nature children are generally trusting and lack the scepticism one acquires from life experiences. A predator's ultimate goal can range from fantasy talk to more insidious acts, so monitoring of a child's activities online is crucial.

Online chat can be a fun and informative way to communicate with people, to network, and to learn more about the world at large, but it is also another outlet for criminals to target victims for a range of crimes. By everyone keeping their guard up and not revealing too much about themselves, such as where they live or their credit information, they can continue to enjoy online chatting and make new friends. As most are taught to be aware of their surroundings when going to the mall or grocery store, they must use that same awareness when engaging in online chat. Their computers are an open window that predators will climb through if given the chance.