Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of text messages from sender to receiver. Chat messages are generally short in order to enable other participants to respond quickly. Thereby, a feeling similar to a spoken conversation is created, which distinguishes chatting from other text-based online communication forms such as Internet forums and email. Online chat may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers and voice and video chat, or may be a feature of a web conferencing service.
Online chat in a less stringent definition may be primarily any direct text-based or video-based (webcams), one-on-one chat or one-to-many group chat (formally also known as synchronous conferencing), using tools such as instant messengers, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), talkers and possibly MUDs. The expression online chat comes from the word chat which means "informal conversation". Online chat includes web-based applications that allow communication –often directly addressed, but anonymous between users in a multi-user environment. Web conferencing is a more specific online service, that is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor.
Text messaging, or texting, is the act of typing and sending a brief, electronic message between two or more mobile phones or fixed or portable devices over a phone network. The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS); it has grown to include messages containing image, video, and sound content (known as MMS messages). The sender of a text message is known as a texter, while the service itself has different colloquialisms depending on the region. It may simply be referred to as a text in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines, an SMS in most of mainland Europe, and a TMS or SMS in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Text messages can be used to interact with automated systems to, for example, order products or services, or participate in contests. Advertisers and service providers use direct text marketing to message mobile phone users about promotions, payment due dates, etcetera instead of using mail, e-mail or voicemail.
Texting while driving is the act of composing, sending, reading text messages, email, or making other similar use of the web on a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle. The practice has been viewed by many people and authorities as dangerous. It has also been ruled as the cause of some motor vehicle accidents, and in some places has been outlawed or restricted. Texting while driving leads to increased distraction behind the wheel. In 2006, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group conducted a survey of more than 90 teens from more than 26 high schools nationwide. The results showed that 37% of students consider texting to be "very" or "extremely" distracting. A study by the American Automobile Association discovered that 47% of teens admitted to being distracted behind the wheel because of texting. This distraction is alarming, because 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. A study involving commercial vehicle operators conducted in September of 2009 concluded that though incidence of texting within their dataset was low, texting while driving increased the risk of accident significantly.
Texting has become a social norm fairly quickly since the year 2000, as most cell phone plans include a text messaging package. The popularity of smartphones, which allow people to communicate in even more ways, increases the likelihood of usage. It cannot be contested that text messaging and other forms of text communication on mobile phones offer a level of convenience that cannot be matched. The dilemma is at what point do we chose safety over convenience. Many studies have linked texting while driving to the cause of life-threatening accidents due to driver distraction. The International Telecommunication Union states that “texting, making calls, and other interaction with in-vehicle information and communication systems while driving is a serious source of driver distraction and increases the risk of traffic accidents”.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.