Mobile chat has been a natural extension of the chat rooms, offered over the internet and on fixed lines. With the telecom companies introducing reduced rate packages, it has becoming increasingly difficult to prevent the youth from using messaging as mean of regular communication. As convenient as they are, SMS (Short Message Service) or text messages have as with all forms of communication, a few drawbacks:
SMS is extensively being used by unscrupulous people to blackmail/misguide others. Text messages are sent indicating that you have won a lottery or a prize. Responding to such messages is not under the usual rate, but at increased rate. The person never wins but ends up spending a substantial amount of time and credit on such scams.
SMS has alienated the family members from one another. Being occupied with spending and receiving than communicating with the family has become a norm in many homes. Family time is usually spent with mobiles and other devices, rather than bonding with each other. Reduced interaction/ communication, and addiction to SMS has jeopardized many a relationships.
Text messaging is non-confrontational mode of communication, bullying via the medium is more like stalking. A recipient has no way of knowing who has sent the text; so the offensive and harassing text messages become more frequent. offensive jokes, threads and forwards are sent through SMS/ text messages. The psychological effects of such bullying have a greater negative impact than face-to-face bullying.
It is not possible to control or monitor the conversations that take place amongst people in these chat sessions. However, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that children are fully aware of the risks involved in this respect. Also, spending quality family time has become increasingly important because of hectic schedules of family members. Once together, the family should communicate and connect with one another and be physically and emotionally present.