Meet for sex chatrooms

Many of the young people we spoke to said that they found this continual uncertainty exhilarating and very different from most of their day–to–day interactions with others (in ‘meat space’), in which role, status and rules constrain interaction within routine and highly predictable forms.

Chatrooms provide more than a stage for trying on new selves; the setting itself can become hyper–real, as all those who participate in it interact in the knowledge that ‘no–one is quite who they say they are’.

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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?

Here, using a small set of these interviews, which were made with students in a tutorial centre in Athens [2], we will describe how some young people use the Internet to make relationships with others, and particularly how young women and men use the net to meet and talk to one another.

As a place to meet and talk with strangers, one of the appeals of cyberspace lies in its visual silence.

Many of the girls we have interviewed have told us how their interests in the Internet grew from the Web sites which promote pop music and fashion — at the time of the study this particularly involved sites that promoted boy bands, many of which contain links that lead them into chatrooms and related sites.

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.

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