Adult chat rooms widen the bars to a dark realm for teenagers

Seemingly harmless sites hold much more evil than they appear

The dark world of online chat rooms can be intriguing, especially when youre lonely.

The dark world of online chat rooms can be intriguing, especially when you’re lonely.

Sophie Grover, Arts and Entertainment Editor

From a young age, kids have always been told the phrase “stranger danger,” and advised to not interact with people they don’t know. In the online world, anyone can pretend to be anyone, and someone might not be who they say they are.
There are many websites that have recently gained popularity that seem innocent at first glance, but in reality are quite dangerous. All of them have the same basic concept: you get matched with a random stranger and can either continue to video chat with them or move on to the next person. A lot of teenagers use these sites to make friends and meet new people, and considering the state of the world, these sites seem like a good substitute for human interaction.
However, teenagers aren’t the only ones on these sites. This world of strangers is sadly full of child predators. Certain websites don’t allow kids under 18 to be on their website, but all one has to do is click a box that says they are of age. No signature, no date of birth, nothing. This makes it very easy to lie about one’s age.
Child pornography is a big problem on these sites, even though chats are supposed to be monitored. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a man in Kansas named Kyle B. Rains was sentenced to almost 14 years of prison for distributing explicit child imagery through one of these chat sites. Authorities were made aware and action was taken. In this situation, proper action was taken, but more often than not things go unnoticed.
Another issue in the online world is human trafficking. The Polaris Project, a social justice organization that speaks out against child trafficking, reported that out of 845 potential victims, “489 recruited on another type of Internet platform such as Craigslist, chat rooms, or a website that could not be identified during the hotline call.”
Polaris runs the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline. Please refrain from going on live chat room websites. As a young adult there is always a natural curiosity of the adult world, but for your own safety, don’t go on these websites. To stay safe on the internet as a whole, don’t give out personal information, be kind to others, use privacy settings on social media, and always block people on social media who make you feel unsafe.
Generation Z was born in a world already technologically advanced and although the younger generation primarily rules most social platforms, it’s important to remember that anyone can have an account, and not everyone is being truthful about who they are. People often feel invincible online, especially the younger and more technologically savvy generations. I catch myself feeling this way at times. It may feel like the online world can’t bring you harm simply because it isn’t tangible, but being irresponsible online can lead to harm in other ways.
Our world is revolutionizing through technology very rapidly and the excitement can sometimes be in the forefront of one’s mind, but always remember the online world is a dangerous place.