The Dangers Of Text Chat With Strangers
By: Darby Faubion
Updated September 18, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Carnell Colebrook-Claude , MA, NCC, BC-TMH, LPC (Clinical Track), LPCC, LCPC, LIMHP, LSOTP
The desire to communicate with others is normal, as is the desire to have healthy relationships. However, the pressure to develop friendships or intimate relationships may cloud otherwise sound judgment. If you're relying on technology and social media to meet new people, you may end up in dangerous situations because there is really no way to be sure who you're talking to.
In this article, we'll talk about text chat and why it may be dangerous. Text chat refers to any kind of communication over the internet that offers real-time transmission of text messages from a sender to a receiver. For example, chat rooms and online messaging groups have become popular ways for people to connect online.
While text chat can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests and expand your network, it's always important to be cautious. The dangers of talking with a stranger online are more prominent than many realize as predators often use the internet to lure potential victims.
Why Text Chat with Strangers?
There could be any number of reasons why an individual might want to chat with a stranger. While some people simply like the ease of communicating via text, others like the anonymity. It's particularly easy to get caught up in the world of electronic communication if you have issues with self-esteem or anxiety. In those cases, this type of anonymous communication allows a person to interact with someone else without having to feel the social anxiety or awkwardness that often accompanies in-person communication.
For some people, it also seems easier to talk about personal feelings with strangers. Similarly, the fear of rejection often weighs heavily on people who are very shy or prefer to spend time alone. Talking with online friends creates a sense of having a "relationship" without having to commit to constant communication if they don't want it.
What About the Dangers?
If you don't know for sure who you're talking to, you could end up giving your information to someone who will use it against you. Online predators are usually very good at getting information from their targets. In fact, statistics show that 75 percent of teens are willing to share personal information about themselves or their family in exchange for goods and services online. Additionally, in 100 percent of the cases that involved online sexual predators luring teens, the teens have gone willingly to meet the offender.
These predators know what they're doing. Individuals who are skilled at using the internet to lure a victim may change their email or social media accounts frequently. While it's not uncommon for some people to change these accounts from time to time, online predators usually do so to keep from being identified after they commit a crime.
Things to Consider Before Using Text Chat with Strangers
A Stranger is a Stranger
No matter how sincere the person on the other end of the text chat may seem, there's no way to know if he or she is being honest. Sharing personal information with a stranger can make you vulnerable.
Victims Don't Anticipate Being Victimized
No one wakes up in the morning thinking, "It's a great day to be victimized." However, certain behaviors can increase the risk that someone will take advantage of you. As innocent as your intentions may be, you should always be safe when using text chat to communicate with strangers.
It's true that most online friends don't need to be feared, but you should always follow safety measures. For instance, if you communicate with strangers, it's best to not share personal information. Refrain from giving out your last name, your location, or phone number, and whatever you do, do not exchange money with a stranger. Even if the person is committing a scam, it will be difficult to recoup your cash if you willingly give them money.
Chat rooms are common places to meet "friends" online, and inexperienced chat room visitors are usually drawn in by the name of the room. For example, some rooms are named to attract Christian socializers, and others may be named for sports fanatics. Most people are probably legitimately interested in the topic, but there's no way to be 100 percent sure. Even in rooms that claim to host a particular audience, it's always best to err on the side of caution.
What Are You Personally Looking For?
Before engaging in text chat with a stranger, think about why you're considering this type of communication. Be honest with yourself about your reasons for choosing text chat. If you're seeking companionship, a safer alternative may be attending local meetups or community events. This would give you an opportunity to meet people in person in a public place with others around. After all, you can learn a lot about a person by watching the way he or she interacts with others.
For some people, social anxiety or low self-esteem might make them more inclined to meet people online. If this applies to you, you may want to get to the root of your anxiety and/or self-esteem issues. Left unaddressed, these issues are likely to get worse, not better.
If you still prefer online communication, there are safer options, including online counseling and support groups that have been vetted by legitimate organizations. These services give you an opportunity to communicate with others who are supportive and nonjudgmental in a safe environment.
In fact, online counseling is becoming more and more popular. If you choose online counseling, you can connect with a therapist or a doctor from the comfort of your own home. As an online counseling platform, BetterHelp is dedicated to making professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient to anyone who is struggling with life's challenges. If you're curious about online counseling, you'll find a few reviews of our counselors below.
"I never dreamed that I would see a day where the amount of emotional, and mental growth I have achieved would become possible. Dr. Butler has pushed me to become a person that I can be proud of. To me, he's more of a coach cheering you on, on the sidelines reminding you to dig deep within yourself, and find those answers you have been seeking. I look forward to our sessions, and it feels like I'm catching up with an old friend these days. Thank you Dr. Butler."
"Tonya is very easy to talk to; she makes you feel extremely comfortable to opening up about yourself and your problems without any pressure. She makes talking to her feel like talking to a close friend rather than feeling nervous or at ease about talking to a professional. She's gotten me to overcome my struggles, forgive myself, and forgive others. She has helped me to move on with my future rather than dwell on my past and I couldn't be thankful enough."
The internet can offer a world of education and resources, but you should always be careful when you're online. Before engaging in text chat with strangers, think about why you want to engage in text chat and learn about ways you can protect yourself from online predators. You may also want to seek safe alternatives for meeting new people or talk to a counselor who can help with issues like self-esteem and social anxiety. If you're looking for a safe place where you can talk to an experienced counselor online, take the first step here.
Previous ArticleHow Do I Know If I Am Addicted To Private Chat Rooms Online?
Next ArticleThe Pros And Cons Of Video Chat With Random People
Learn MoreWhat Is Online Therapy? About Online Counseling
Abuse ADHD Adolescence Alzheimer's Ambition Anger Anxiety Attachment Attraction Behavior Bipolar Body Dysmorphic Disorder Body Language Bullying Careers Chat Childhood Counseling Dating Defense Mechanisms Dementia Depression Domestic Violence Eating Disorders Family Friendship General Grief Guilt Happiness How To Huntington's Disease Impulse Control Disorder Intimacy Loneliness Love Marriage Medication Memory Menopause MidLife Crisis Mindfulness Monogamy Morality Motivation Neuroticism Optimism Panic Attacks Paranoia Parenting Personality Personality Disorders Persuasion Pessimism Pheromones Phobias Pornography Procrastination Psychiatry Psychologists Psychopathy Psychosis Psychotherapy PTSD Punishment Rejection Relationships Resilience Schizophrenia Self Esteem Sleep Sociopathy Stage Fright Stereotypes Stress Success Stories Synesthesia Teamwork Teenagers Temperament Tests Therapy Time Management Trauma Visualization Willpower Wisdom Worry
Online Therapeutic Chat Alternatives The Dangers Of Private Chat Rooms Online How Do I Know If I Am Addicted To Private Chat Rooms Online? The Pros And Cons Of Video Chat With Random People What Are The Most Helpful Chatrooms Online Free Websites? Top Places To Chat Online With People