Article by Greg Barrow - Last Updated: February 2nd, 2018
For almost as long as chatrooms have existed, people have been asking the question "Are Chat Rooms Safe?" And the answer is: Chatrooms are as safe or dangerous as you allow them to be. If you give out your personal information, download files or meet people in-person you have compromised your safety. Often, people do some or all of these things and nothing comes of it, but those who have been the victim of crime, whether cyber or physical have almost certainly violated one of these 4 chat safety rules. Another popular question is "Are there any chatrooms that are safe for children?" The answer answer to that question is not as straight forward.
Don't Fear "Hackers"
Just because someone knows how to exploit chat software does not make them a true "hacker". Some people use ready made scripts they downloaded while others were told what to copy and paste to achieve the desired affect. One of the most used and over rated intimidation tactics by so-called hackers is getting someone's IP address. If someone has your IP address they can tell what internet service provider you use and at best what town you live in but usually it's just the state or city you live in.
Don't Succumb to Blackmail
Once you start down the path of pacifying a blackmailer you've started a journey that will never end. Your best bet is to report it to moderators or site administrators and ignore the person. 321Chat.Com will check logs to corroborate the story and permanently ban the offending party. You may also wish to notify the police, recently there have been some high profile cases of teens being prosecuted for blackmailing other teens and adults with digital photos and videos.
If you are talking about physical safety and digital security, then the four rules above apply and will keep kids safe. However, when it comes to emotional abuse through cyber bullying or exposure to sexual content it is not nearly as easy to stop or even guard against. The best option for kids or teens that are not mature enough to handle such situations are to find a chat that requires age verified parental consent. Such online communities are few and far between but it is the removal of anonymity that insures people act appropriately.
321 Chat has volunteer moderators that police the text posted in the public chat (when present). Moderators also ban chatters for breaking rules such as excessive bullying, blackmail and the posting of personal information and adult content. 321 Chat has worked with Police Departments and Federal Agencies dozens of times to help root out vile predators. But the sheer number of times we have been asked for help by police departments is proof of the inherent dangers of chat. The presence of criminals within our rooms is no different than that of other chat sites, but we pride our-self on working as cooperatively as possible with all prosecuting agencies.