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And while many children are using web forums to swap personal details and meet boyfriends and girlfriends, fewer than half of parents monitor their chatroom use. Mubarak Rahamathulla, from Flinders University's school of social work, quizzed more than school-aged chat-room users from a range of backgrounds. Chat rooms are open forums on the net where users have direct discussions with strangers. Some are themed according to interests such as sport or movies, others serve as contact points for people simply interested in meeting strangers.
Dr Rahamathulla said participants in his study were aged 13 to 17, and in discussion groups said sex was a part of the attraction of chat rooms. Cyber sex - where net users describe sexual acts to each other online, sometimes while stimulating themselves - was one activity admitted to by the teens. Almost all of them have mentioned it is an important part of their interaction. In discussion groups teens talked of meeting older partners. Some said they felt psychologically addicted to the forums.
One participant said a friend had had an internet "marriage" with an unseen partner who was now sending her money. Dr Rahamathulla said despite the dangers of sexual predators, pedophiles and cyber stalkers using chat rooms, most parents did not appear to be monitoring their children's use of the forums. More than 60 per cent of adolescents are believed to be using chat rooms.
Of those questioned only 18 per cent reported they received parental support and guidance. More than 55 per cent reported no parental guidance at all while 26 per cent were banned from the rooms at home but used them at school or at friends' houses. Dr Rahamathulla said he believed parents should play a greater role in monitoring children's internet use. He said children in the study expressed interest in the idea of chat-room coaches - slightly older people with whom they could discuss their chat-room experiences and learn about possible dangers.
Teens hooked on cyber sex forums. Please try again later. The Sydney Morning Herald. October 31, — Save Log in , register or subscribe to save articles for later. Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size. Children as young as 12 are logging onto internet chat rooms for cyber sex. this article.Cyber sex forum
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