Almost all teens who have access to the web use it to chat, email, SMS or IRC with their friends. There are now loads of places online where you can talk to people. Some of them (like message boards) are for discussing particular subjects. Others (usually chatrooms, or IRC) work in real time, so you can have a 'live' conversation with someone over the internet. Social networking sites (like Facebook and MySpace), where users create a 'profile' of themselves online, are used by lots of teens to keep in touch with friends and meet new people.
New technology has created loads of new ways to make friends and talk to them. Many teens find that communication over the web plays a really important role in their friendships and relationships – lots of people even meet their boyfriends or girlfriends online. But this is an area where you have to be really careful - get it wrong and it could cost you your life! Look below at tips for staying safe.
“People you meet on the internet may not be who they say they are, and even if someone sends you a photo of themselves, it doesn't prove anything.”
The web is also used by some people not just to chat, but to cyber – to have sex with someone over the internet. Sounds crazy? Well lots of people do it, sometimes with webcams, sometimes just typing stuff they'd like to do to each other. Cybering can be ok as long as you don't let it carry over into real life. And, even if it sounds a bit strange, it's still a form of safe sex - you won't get any STDs from cybering with someone!
But there are some precautions you have to take on the web. People you meet on the internet may not be who they say they are, and even if someone sends you a photo of themselves, it doesn't prove anything – so don't take anyone for granted.