Scholars have argued that the Internet could bring about the realization of an electronic global village, with no race, gender, infirmities, or the social problems that often accompany these physical indicators of difference.
In this study, we explored this issue by conducting content and discourse analyses of online conversations about race and ethnicity in teen chat rooms.
The need to participate in chat rooms may even turn into chat room addiction, in which you feel the need to log in at all hours of the day, including those at work or in the middle of the night.
Addiction can make you feel as if you're missing out on some valuable points made by other members or even that the group has turned its back on you because you're logged off.
If a chat room member has offered up personal details, such as her “real life” first and last name, participants may cross the line and attempt to make contact.
Chat room conversation may lead to threatening emails, blog rants or even attempts to find and harass the person in real life.
While it may be revelatory to find a group of other people interested in the same topic as yourself, participants should remain aware of certain dangers as they talk the talk.
Through a chat room, a predator can engage a child and attempt to entice him out of the chat room into a private room or, in the worst case scenario, into a real life situation.
Statistical analysis indicated that racial or ethnic slurs were significantly more frequent in the unmonitored than in the monitored chat rooms.
These findings suggest that, in the absence of social controls, such as a monitor, negative intergroup attitudes can surface.