The Pros And Cons Of Video Chat With Random People
By: Danni Peck
Updated February 10, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lisa Cooper
Video chat with random people you meet online can seem like a good alternative in situations where you don't have friends and family around to talk to. If you do have friends and family around, maybe you feel embarrassed about what you are going through or feel like nobody will understand. Maybe you are new to an area and have not connected with anyone there. Maybe you are introverted and find it hard to reach out to people. Perhaps you are very busy and find little time for social experiences. Whatever your situation, you may find that the computer is the easiest and quickest place to reach out for a social experience or to find someone to talk to about your situation.
The internet has provided a solution to this problem for years with social media, forums, and chat rooms. People have shown an interest in using the internet to meet and connect with others. Now in addition to text chat with people from around the world, many platforms also allow you to video chat with random people that you meet on the internet. You will be able to actually see the person in their environment that you are talking to and make a better connection in this way.
With video chat, you can find people that you really click with, some strange and intriguing acquaintances, some that you don't relate to, and those simply looking to flirt. You might have to go meet many people before you find someone you feel comfortable talking to. This can be frustrating and some people may settle into talking to someone that they are not completely comfortable around. If video chat with random people is something that you have done or are thinking about, these are some of the things that you might want to consider first.
Some of the Pros and Cons of Video Chat with Random People
- Meet new people from around the world
- Get to know people with similar interests as you
- People feel comfortable sharing more about themselves online
- Video chat is a convenient way to connect with people
- Compared to chat rooms, you can usually see the person when you video chat, so you know that they are probably telling the truth about things like their age and gender
- You are able to connect with people at various times and schedules
- You can maintain a distance while being close at the same time
- You can assess someone online prior to the meeting if you were to choose to do so
- You can have friends and still be private or anonymous
- Even though you can see them, you still don't know people's motives online or if they are telling the truth about things
- People you meet and form relationships with online can just disappear after a while
- When you video chats with random people, you need to be careful not to share too much or you can be taken advantage of, stalked, hated on, etc.
- People can appear different online than they do in person since there is not a real physical presence
- True intimacy and connection are often exaggerated online and a lot of projection and a false sense of closeness can occur
- You cannot actually observe the behaviors of the person and have that close physical connection that occurs in a real life presence where you can observe them and their actions
- A person may appear more "together" for a while but in the end, seem to change. Artificial and temporary closeness may occur.
Alternatives to Video Chat with Random People
1. Online Counselling
If you are a person that is chatting in an attempt to deal with personal issues that are troubling for you, you might consider counseling. Dealing with vulnerable issues with unprofessional strangers, even if you feel safe, can result in you being very hurt and disappointed. One safer alternative that allows you to connect to someone who will care and sympathize with your current life situation is online counseling. Online websites like BetterHelp offer counseling services that use text, phone, and/or video so their clients can get the help that they need on their terms. The site assists people in connecting with experts who understand what they are going through and is qualified to help.
2. Mental Health Chat Rooms
There are various mental health chat rooms on the internet, like Healthful Chat that doesn't use video but provides social support for people suffering from various mental illnesses. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, and other mental health disorders, you can find supportive people online who have experienced and survived what you are still going through. While these platforms and other platforms are useful for many, remember that the users that share are not professionals and their feedback may be biased and they may not be able to separate their issues from yours. Still, it is often helpful for people to connect with others that share some of their concerns and to feel less alone.
3. Meet Up Room
These are places where you can find people with common interests that may want to join local groups that engage in activities related to your interests. While the online chat is limited and usually leads to real-time connections, it can provide a means for you to meet people that have shared interests with you and could result in a real-time connection.
4. Social Dating Sites
These dating sites can provide a means to connect with people online that are looking for a partner or friend. Some of these sites are free and some charge a fee. While the rate of real-life success at making a long term connection is not clear, it is an option that people have to make a connection with others online.
As you can see, there are a lot of pros and cons to video chat with random people online. Many people do it and meet great people who they connect with and who help them get through hard times in life or make new friends that are long term.
However, you should keep in mind that there are always trolls and people looking to victimize other people who seem vulnerable online. This can be done via mind games or scams, so be careful who you video chat with. Always take your time to collect information and ask yourself if what the person is telling you makes sense. If you find that you are having to clarify a lot of information, you should be suspicious. If someone is trying to scam you, they will always be able to "explain" things…so it is not the answer they give that is the solutions. Rather, the red flag is that you have to ask for clarification enough that you should be suspicious.
There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. A lot of times we feel like we are suffering alone but there are others who care and understand your struggle. Reaching out to a counselor or joining a mental health chat group are a few safer alternatives to video chat with random people. Also, for social interaction, you might want to check for local interest groups that seem to connect with you. In any event, be careful. Always start by collecting information and assessing it, rather than just trusting from the start which can lead to disappointment or starting with suspicion which can leave you ever starting.