One chatroom sex

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In this paper we describe a particular set of Internet–based interactions that have great appeal to young people but create most anxiety among parents and other adults. In the main they were concerned about security rather than pornography, which they saw as amusing rather than harmful.During the period 2000–2002 we conducted more than 200 interviews with children and young people and conducted case studies in homes, schools, libraries, cybercafes and other places where the Internet is accessed. But it was also clear from our interviews that many were more active in chatrooms than their parents and other adults realised.This paper reports a small number of interviews with young people in Athens about their use of Internet chatrooms as a means of meeting people.In the last few years there has been a growing public concern about the dangers of socialising with strangers in chatrooms, but what do the users themselves think about the risks involved, and what strategies have they adopted to manage these risks?And there is dark side of illicit information, criminal activity, dangerous knowledge and harmful content.Teachers, parents, librarians and other adults want to encourage children and young people to make maximum use of the positive and creative possibilities of the internet, but they also feel, to varying degrees, responsible for steering them away from the dark side.For many of us the Internet has become an indispensable part of everyday life.It frequently provides our first point of access to information.

These chatroom sites provide opportunities to try on alternative ways of looking and being in interaction with others, who share similar interests and who appear to take you at ‘face value’; a face you can manipulate for effect without fear of detection.

Webcams vary from rather static landscape views (our university has one which is pointed at the sky for weather enthusiasts) to sites apparently managed by young girls who adopt provocative poses and post lists of presents they would like to receive.

The trend seems to be increasingly for such sites to become participative and interactive, Anyone can keep a Web–log—and anyone can read it and respond.

On the Internet, you are not restricted to trying on clothes, but can try on different names, origins, life histories, attitudes and opinions, different ways of relating to others, different ages and genders.

And you do so knowing that those you are talking with are probably doing the same.

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