Online chat in a less stringent definition may be primarily any direct text-based or video-based (webcams), one-on-one chat or one-to-many group chat (formally also known as synchronous conferencing), using tools such as instant messengers, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), talkers and possibly MUDs.
By the late 80s, before the internet was available to the public, users were sharing low-quality scanned pornographic images.
Internet chat rooms and rapid real-time teleconferencing allow users to interact with whoever happens to coexist in cyberspace.
These virtual interactions involve us in 'talking' more freely and more widely than ever before.
With the increasing population of online chatrooms there has been a massive growth "as new electronic modes of communication provoke similar anxieties amongst critics who express concern that young people are at risk, endangered by a rising tide of information over which the traditional controls of print media and the guardians of knowledge have no control on it".
"that teenagers and young people are in the leading the movement of change as they take advantage of the possibilities of digital technology, drastically changing the face of literacy in a variety of media through their uses of mobile phone text messages, e-mails, web-pages and on-line chatrooms.
As far back as September 1998, an article ("Internet Paradox") in the journal detailed studies which demonstrated that, "Greater use of the Internet was associated with declines in participants' communication with family members in the household, declines in the size of their social circle, and increases in their depression and loneliness." Today, a growing number of experts consider Internet addiction to be a serious and growing scourge.