What is chat?

A 'chat room' is simply a web page which can display typed messages in real time. When several people are logged on to the same chat page via the Internet, each can type short messages of a few words (often with accepted abbreviations) onto an area in the web page. Each message, and replies from the others in the chat room, are immediately visible to all the participants as sequential lines (with identification of the writer).

Most chat rooms are unmoderated - that is, there is no-one in control. Some chat rooms, particularly for children and young people, have a moderator who can guide the flow of discussion, rebuke rudeness or profanity, and remove someone from using the chat room if such guidelines are broken.

It is important that people wishing to use chat rooms take time to learn the protocol, and what is an appropriate strategy for online witness.

Chat rooms are also a valuable method of sharing faith in cross-cultural situations, even in the 10-40 Window - because there are chat rooms for almost every country, ethnic community and language in the world. Returned or retired missionaries can 'visit' their country as often as they wish! If you wish to do this, it is important to understand the culture and religion of the group.