Chat With Strangers Vs. Therapist

Medically reviewed by Dr. April Brewer, DBH, LPC
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Free online chat sites have been on a steady increase around the whole world since social media chat has become globally popular and mobile friendly. An anonymous chat with strangers, or stranger chat, through registration to online chat rooms, is commonplace now, whether it's a free chat room with strangers on a public Facebook page, on Instagram, or on Omegle, Omegle alternatives, or Snapchat. 

With the ability to obtain totally free registration with chat rooms, reach out to new chat partners, and talk to strangers anonymously, it has become even easier to start chatting with new friends, complete strangers, or old friends. Chatting websites can provide a great opportunity to make new friends online by connecting over a text chat or voice chat conversation. These chat rooms can also be great for a lot of friends to chat or hop on a stranger's video chat.

The completely free registration for a text chat service can provide a way for online strangers to meet and talk about mental health while remaining completely anonymous. The ease of having a text chat, voice calls, or video call with strangers online can be a good thing if you want to find friends, but a chat with strangers can also be dangerous. Below, we’ll explore some of the advantages of the most popular chat sites and ee chat rooms as well as the benefits of online therapy platforms.

Afraid that online therapy is too much like talking to strangers?

Chat room statistics

Free registration to join popular random chat sites, random chat rooms, text chat apps, and unfiltered chat rooms can make chatting up a stranger for engaging conversations instantaneous.

According to one conservative estimate, Omegle, one of the most popular public chat avenues where strangers chat, has 30,000 users logging in to an online chat room per second.

There are other free sites where strangers meet and talk, like Facebook and its text chat service Messenger, which boasts 1.15 billion daily active users. Many of these users engage in one-to-one chat with strangers, fellow page surfers, or new friends of friends. In some cases, a chat website may offer one-on-one chat where users chat completely anonymously with one other person. 

One-on-one chat may or may not have a moderator or chat head, so it is important to be cautious when chatting with someone one-on-one. For example, it’s safest not to answer questions that give away your delicate information when you talk to strangers online. 

Free registration to join these online chat rooms where strangers talk and have a video or text chat conversation is fun, and encourages children and adults alike to make new friends and to meet strangers who can become new friends. On the other hand, registration for some of the completely free text chat sites where a random stranger from anywhere in the whole world can talk to random people is sometimes problematic or dangerous. 

Random strangers or bots from a different country in another part of the world are not to be immediately trusted and may not follow chat rules over text chat messages or even video calls, especially ones with free registration. This is why caution is beneficial when you meet strangers online.

Keeping minors safe online

When it comes to public chat rooms, children are often susceptible to being manipulated by random strangers online on a free chat site, especially in a chat room. Some of these unknown people talk to young children in text chat conversations and act like they are new friends to get credit card registration info out of them.

It is important for parents to monitor their children’s internet usage, registration for free text chat services with strangers, and possibly their text chat messages. Parents can help children learn to be aware of what strangers they are talking to online when they choose to talk to random people. By monitoring children’s internet usage, parents may identify any bots posing as real people in a text chat conversation online. Bots can mine online chat rooms looking to steal login information or credit card registration info.

Keeping yourself safe when talking to strangers online

Adults also need to be careful about the new friends they make from chatting with strangers online. When you talk to strangers through online chat rooms or video chat, you might keep in mind that even well-meaning strangers could end up causing more harm than good when providing life advice. Remember upon registration for an online chat room that new friends and random strangers are still real people who can make mistakes or take advantage of others through public chat rooms.

You might chat with strangers at your discretion; new friends can be great, but you might want to be cautious about talking to strangers about your problems, especially if they are related to serious mental health concerns. If you are feeling depressed or suicidal*, registration to a text chat room to talk to random strangers can present significant risk.

Some strangers online take on a false persona because with chat room registration, it’s easy for strangers to stay hidden. Some people may have nefarious purposes, while others may give unsolicited when they don’t have expertise to do so.

For example, if you reveal your sexual orientation and that you’d like to chat with female strangers online, strangers might attempt to take advantage of this. They might pose as stranger girls and feign romantic interest to convince you to provide financial aid or give away delicate info that can be used for identity theft. In some cases, they might even pretend to be a famous person to try to win you over. 

Random strangers you meet through public chat rooms, even if they become new friends, are likely not trained in psychology or medicine and therefore are not qualified by their state to give any advice related to mental health care. Unfortunately, we can all get caught up in giving or taking free advice to friends or even random strangers over a free text chat service or even in real life.

This often extends to far more than giving advice about how to get over a cold. Instead, people are giving and taking advice from a chat with strangers about depression, suicide, relationship troubles, and a whole lot more. Well-meaning strangers may give less-than-ideal advice in chat rooms, and less well-meaning strangers may be giving downright dangerous advice or even bullying individuals on these free chat sites.

Online therapy and video chat

If you have serious concerns about your mental health, substance use, relationships, or other problems, seeking online therapy may be a better option than an online chat with strangers. Statistically, online counseling has been proven to help with a number of mental health concerns. Research shows that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy, and you can talk to an online therapist via phone, videoconferencing, or in-app messaging. With online therapy, you can ensure you’re speaking to a licensed therapist instead of a random stranger who may not have any qualifications to provide life advice.

With online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can be sure that the therapist you’re matched with has been vetted for licensure and advanced training in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.

Afraid that online therapy is too much like talking to strangers?

Questions to consider before signing up for an online chatroom

If for some reason you cannot speak with a therapist at this time and decide to talk to people online, you might consider the following questions when registering for online text chat sites:

  • Are they qualified to give advice about my concern?

Do they have licensing and certifications, and do they have the background and experience necessary to truly understand what you’re experiencing and what can help?

  • Have they been trained and licensed by their state to address mental health concerns?

They need accurate and verifiable records of their licensing and the additional training that they’ve completed. They should be able to provide them to you on demand. 

  • Do they have good reviews and a positive reputation online?

Have they worked with others who have similar situations, and have they received positive feedback? you might look for feedback that’s been posted about them, especially on chat sites or chat forums that they don’t control. That’s where you may find the best information.

If you find a chat site, you might consider taking certain precautions. While you may find people experiencing similar concerns who seem empathetic, you might want to avoid giving information, such as your full name, address, phone number, and financial information. The latter may seem obvious, but there are scams set up by people who claim to have your best interest at heart. If someone on a chat forum offers further services in exchange for payment, you might err on the side of caution and log off or speak with someone else. 

If you can at this time, you might try online therapy instead. With BetterHelp, you can sign up for a subscription service and have a weekly session with a trained, licensed, vetted therapist. Also, BetterHelp can sometimes offer financial assistance to those who qualify, and all you need is a phone, tablet, or computer to get started with your sessions. 

Takeaway

No matter what you’re experiencing at this time, there is help available, whether through chat groups online or through an online therapist. If you sign up for an online chat program, you can complement that support with the help of a licensed online therapist. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist experienced in whatever mental health or relationship concerns you’re going through. If needed, you can always change therapists until you find a good match. Take the first step and reach out to BetterHelp today.
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