Instant messaging on the computer has become the phone for kids today.Children spend hours chatting online with their friends, and sometimes with strangers.There are hundreds of rooms and thousands of people.
A recent study found that one in five children online is approached by a sexual predator, a predator who may try to set up a face-to-face meeting.
In a Dateline hidden camera investigation, correspondent Chris Hansen catches some of these men in the act.
In chat rooms, there is a central, main screen where people can chat and where the screen names of people who have either entered or left the room appear.
On the right-hand side is the list of people in the room. This time, when I go into the Canadian room for teens, no private messages arrive. I leave the room and decide to check out a few others.
And they all had something in common: the same excuse.
Just about every man who came to our house said it was the first time he had done something like this and most claimed they really had no intention of having sex with a minor.
As soon as my screen name, which includes my fake age, appears in the central room, smaller screens private messages from other people in the room start popping up in front of me. I'm not used to posing as a teen girl, I'm not used to lying, I'm not used to the lingo and I'm certainly not expecting to get a request for a picture two seconds into a conversation.
Hey cutie, says one private message that pops up seconds after I get into the room. The next day, my composure regained, I log back in.
This type of behavior manifests itself in different ways.