Messaging and online chat

Messaging and online chat refers to any form of online communication that allows a real time transmission of text and/or images from sender to receiver. The messages are often short, allowing other participants to respond quickly, which makes it similar to a spoken word conversation. The communication could be one-on-one or involve a group of people. It may be between participants who are known to one another or strangers. Depending on the service, and the settings chosen by the user, the messages or chat history may be publicly available online.

What are the benefits?

  • You can stay connected to people 
    You can stay in touch with friends and family, even if they are on the other side of the world.
  • Be in the moment with someone
    You can feel like you are right there with someone else and feel closer to what they are experiencing.
  • Meet new people  
    You can meet new people that you would not otherwise meet. 
  • Collaborate with other people 
    You can more easily collaborate with people online — ask a question and get a quick response.

What are the risks?

  • Cyberbullying and online abuse
    Not everyone is respectful online — there is a risk that you could be cyberbullied or abused via messaging and online chat.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content
    You could be exposed to content you do not want to see or that is violent, sexualised or not age appropriate. 
  • Messages may be shared or copied without your consent 
    Even if you are using a private messaging service, someone may share your messages or images without your permission.
  • Unwanted contact or contact from strangers 
    You could receive unwanted messages or messages from people you do not know.

You can view messaging and online chat services in the eSafety guide.