Pros And Cons Of Online Chat Rooms

Medically reviewed by Dr. April Brewer, DBH, LPC
Updated April 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Chat rooms can be a good way to meet friends

Chat rooms can be an excellent way to meet and talk with a wide range of people. In some cases, they can offer support and advice. However, it can be important to remember that not everyone on the internet may have good intentions, and not everyone may be the people they portray themselves to be. If you find yourself frequently seeking help from chat rooms for mental health challenges or concerns, it may be a better option to try online therapy, which can empower you to get professional help from the comfort of your home.

Benefits of online chat rooms

Chat rooms frequently offer the following:

  • Namelessness

  • The chance to meet new people with different views

  • The opportunity to get perspectives from around the world

  • The ease of finding people based on your age, gender identity, sexual orientation, interests, and goals (whether you're looking for social support or dating)

  • Free and easy to use

  • Unbiased opinions

When you talk to someone in chat rooms, you may have things in common, but you likely don't know the person intimately like you probably do your friends and family. While this might sound like a drawback, it can be a benefit as well, because you can sometimes get a better perspective from a stranger than you can from someone in your life. Those who love you may be biased in your favor, and they might not be able to see your situation objectively.

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In addition, if you are someone who struggles with divulging your emotions, you might feel more comfortable with written communication. There can be some safety and comfort in not having to divulge deep feelings face-to-face. This can be especially true if you live with anxiety and low self-esteem. 

Moreover, there's often solidarity to be found when talking to multiple people going through similar situations. While your family and friends may be able to comfort you, they may not always understand what you're experiencing. Many chat rooms enable you to connect with people who have a background similar to yours. If you are looking for a different perspective, you may have the option of talking to diverse people who can introduce you to new ways of thinking.

Finally, if you are feeling isolated, it can be better to have someone to chat with online than no one at all. Keeping emotions inside can be damaging, so even if you do not have a one-on-one chat with someone, participating on a message board and receiving feedback from others can make a difference.

Drawbacks of online chat rooms

The following includes potential drawbacks of online chat rooms:

  • You can't always be sure other people are being honest or that they are who they say they are.

  • If you are feeling vulnerable, people online might try to take advantage of you.

  • Building relationships online can result in spending less time with friends and family.

While most people on online forums may genuinely want to help others, we can't always know someone's true motivation. For example, we may all be aware of the problem of online bullying. Additionally, there may be people who pretend to be someone else to gain others' trust. 

It can be important to remember not to give too much identifying information online until you are comfortable with someone. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, you should consider ending the chat.

It may be best to think of internet chats as one way (but not the only way) to seek support. If you spend all your time online, you may neglect to nurture and foster in-person relationships. It can be vital to interact with people not only digitally but also face-to-face, as in-person contact can be a fundamental human need.

Helpful tips for visiting online chat rooms

If you're visiting online chat rooms to chat casually with other people, you may only need to keep your digital safety in mind. When you are seeking help and understanding from others, however, you may also need to guard your emotional safety. Here are some tips to keep you safe in online chat rooms.

1. Know that online chat rooms may not be right for everyone or every situation

Digital therapy may be a growing trend, especially among those who don't have time to visit a local therapist. Some crisis chat sites may offer volunteers you can confide in about day-to-day challenges. For some, this may be an effective solution. Others, however, may need face-to-face therapy or a licensed online therapist to get the right level of help with their concerns. If you are not getting the relief you need from online chat rooms, they may not be right for you.

2. Keep in mind that not all chat rooms may be safe or legitimate

Internet safety generally needs to be observed when using online chat rooms. While there can be quite a few great sites, there may be others trying to steal your information and stealing information on your computer. It can be wise to do research before visiting chat rooms.

3. Note that not all therapists or sites may be helpful

There can be many great online resources for mental health, but there may also be individuals who can scam you into believing that you are getting help. If you are using a site you must pay for, try to be careful about who you trust. You should usually only seek help from reputable websites.

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Chat rooms can be a good way to meet friends

BetterHelp: A safe alternative to online chat rooms

Online chat rooms can be a great resource for people who are lonely, experiencing a difficult transition, or struggling with their feelings and want to chat with others. However, they are usually not a replacement for legitimate therapy. If you prefer communicating online, BetterHelp can be a safe and affordable alternative to both chat rooms and in-person therapy that matches users with licensed mental health professionals.

Benefits of online therapy

If talking to others online tends to be more comfortable for you than speaking in person, then online therapy may be particularly helpful. You may have the option to speak to your therapist via video call, phone call, or online chat, so you can get the professional help you deserve even if you don’t wish to turn on your camera.

Efficacy of online therapy

Regardless of what you’re going through, online therapy may be an effective form of treatment. A growing body of research suggests that online therapy is generally as effective as in-person therapy. It can be helpful for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a variety of other mental health disorders and concerns. 

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors by recent users.

Counselor reviews

"Brianna does a great job of listening to me and really finding out what is bothering me. She then responds with great caring and understanding of what I am feeling, yet she challenges me to be better. She has made this process amazingly simple when we have discussed some very complicated issues. She always has great insight or a great question to something that is bothering me and doesn't rely on conventional examples to help me process and understand how to move forward with living a better, healthier life."

"I have been working with Holly for 2 weeks, and this is some of the most helpful, thoughtful therapy I've experienced so far. I enjoy both the platform (the ability to communicate via chat and phone/video) and recommend Holly's ability to ask insightful, sometimes challenging questions that help guide my thinking towards more acceptance and growth. I am currently dealing with some grief that is more profound than any I've previously experienced, and Holly's expert guidance is helping me to move through it more gracefully than I ever could have alone. I would recommend Holly without reservation."


Although chat rooms can be a fun way to meet and talk to a variety of people with different perspectives, they usually cannot replace professional help. It may be possible to get good advice and support from people in chat rooms, but it can also be possible to receive advice that doesn’t help your current situation. If you often seek the help of others online to cope with challenges, you might consider trying online therapy with a licensed mental health professional instead.
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