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Chat-Guide for Teachers

The internet is a colourful wonderland that enables everyone to slip into a different role

It is very important to realise that the internet can be a very unreal world. This becomes most evident in Chats or messengers (AIM ICQ etc.). Claims can not be checked, sent Photographs do not always resemble the person you are talking to. Job, home town, sex... all can be made up.
In a chat or messenger situation anyone can play a desired role that must not represent reality. It is important to remember this whilst engaging in the world of chat.

Key terms:

In the following we will explain some vital key terms:


The same rule applies for both children and adults: Your screen (name) should bear no resemblance to your real name.

Profile/Business cards

If the provider allows you to create a personal profile it is best ignored. Not only will you fall victim to being filtered by other users, but also release personal information that should not be available to complete strangers.


Chatting is basically a discussion with other users on the internet. Chatting usually occurs in provided Chat rooms or through messenger programmes (for this you require a "messenger" function. T-online, Yahoo, AOL and others offer this function free with their regular software).
In a chat room it is possible for a certain amount people to communicate simultaneously. You write short sentences in a field and send them into the chat room by pressing enter. All of the other visitors in this chat can read these sentences and reply. Such a situation would be impossible in real life as you would not be able to listen to 20 people at the same time. It is however possible in a chat room because you simply read what the 20 people wrote. There is another important difference between actual discussion and "Chatting": There is no way of knowing if claims made by another person are true or made up. It is therefore possible for every person to take on a different personality! Chat rooms for various interest groups are made available through providers,, TV channels or even toy manufacturers. Chat rooms can also be created by the users. These exist only for the duration of a chat and close only after the last participant leaves the room.


A discussion via Messenger / ICQ / Telegram unlike with chat rooms is conducted between two people. It could be compared with a telephone discussion. To write a message in a telegram function a special window opens in which the message is to be typed. Combined with a chat room, this enables multiple conversation.
The messenger function is added further depth by some providers enabling the additional usage of Webcams (internet cameras) or voice (communication like a phone conversation).

What you should be wary of:


  • You should watch over children while they are using the internet
  • You should know their registration password
  • You should stay up to date and be open to learn more about the internet / chat world

Copyright by B. Schöning 2003

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