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Keeping Your Personal Information Private Interacting with People Offline Being Aware of Predators Ceasing Communication and Reporting Threats Community Q&A Chatrooms are a fun place to engage in discussion about a variety of topics.

While most people who frequent online chatrooms are good people, there are some who are there to prey on or bully other people.

Katz credits AIM as helping shape their own gender expression today. The technology was new, but it wasn’t that different from what adolescents have been doing for ages. “I think it helped young women feel like they could come into their own in a lot of ways,” Moss says. In class, I was the person with the right answer — or the person constantly competing with the other smart kid who said it first.

“Teens used the service to flirt through text, engaging in a form of written flirtation that looked a lot more like letter-writing practices decades before,” says Danah Boyd, author of “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.” That written flirtation allowed young women to construct their identities as carefully as their away messages. But online, my friends and I who fashioned ourselves as budding intellectuals who didn’t need to always talk like characters in a Woody Allen movie.

Another friend recalled the time a boy we knew from school told us to get drunk while we chatted.

My friends and I played sexy on AIM because, in real life, we were bound to the rules of our parents, Catholicism, and the code that tells “smart kids” that sexual experimentation is for screw-ups.

All Paid users can message and post and they also have added benefits.Our response to these horror stories was to be judgmental. AIM helped us become everything our screen names promised we could be: clever, corny, simultaneously over-the-top and understated expressions of ourselves.Today, we might not need to be secretive about learning how to have phone sex.Fortunately, by taking steps to keep your personal information private, being cautious when it comes to interacting with people you meet online, and ending communication with people who threaten you, you’ll be better able to safeguard yourself from predators.Dedicated to verified college students and alumni (via education database). Alumni cannot initiate or respond to contact or post status updates.