On The Web - Chatrooms - Instant Messaging - E-Mail - Peer-to-Peer - Newsgroups & Forums - Social Networking


Newsgroups, sometimes called bulletin boards or forums, are places where you can read and post messages or download or upload files. Unlike chatrooms, newsgroups are not live or “real time.” If you post a message it remains on the newsgroup for people to look at later. In newsgroups you can also post files including computer programs, illustrations, pictures, and stories.

There are newsgroups on almost every possible subject. Normally they are used as ways to get questions answered and share information about hobbies, musical groups, or any other subject of interest. Unfortunately, newsgroups, like other areas of the Internet, have risks.

The biggest risk is in revealing information about yourself. Whenever you post, in most cases, your words are available for anyone to see, even if you are responding to a particular individual’s posting. Remember the basic rules, and never reveal identifying information about yourself.

And posting something usually makes your E-mail address available to the public. Thus, even if you don’t say anything personal, your address will be available for people who may send you “junk” or inappropriate E-mails.

Some newsgroups contain sexually explicit illustrations, photographs, and stories. Some of this material may be illegal especially if it contains images of people who are younger than the age of 18 or certain other material that has been defined as “obscene.” This can be upsetting and uncomfortable to view. It should be avoided.