New social networking site sweeping internet has parents concernced

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 26, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 26 at 7:09 PM

(WHAS11)  Last year, it was Twitter.  This year, it’s Chat-Roulette; the latest social networking site to explode on the internet.
 

Since December, the video-conferencing website has grown from 300 users to nearly 30,000 on any given night.
 

All you need is a webcam, and you’re instantly a click away from anyone in the world. 
 

And that has some parents worried.
 

The faces clicking by are strangers from around the world; playing online speed-dating, of sorts.   It’s a game called Chat-Roulette and it’s taking the internet by storm.
 

All you need is a webcam, an internet connection and a little bit of free time, and you can suddenly waste hours as an internet voyeur, by logging on, and clicking “play.”
 

If you like what you see, you stay, if not, it’s on to the “next!”
 

WHAS11 employees logged on and got a crash course in what’s out there, some awkward smiles, some conversation and a few nerve-wracking, cruel moments.
 

And the stuff that’s got parents worried
 

Our experience over the course of a couple of hours was that guys were more likely to stop and chat to a girl, and offer up sexually inappropriate or emotionally disturbing video.
 

But for adults, the site can be a fascinating look at what we have in common; our last stop of the day took us to Turkey, where we met a young man with a big smile, happy that someone stopped long enough to say ‘hey.’
 

All you have to do is click to start the game.
 

It’s grown so quickly that some people have complained of frequent crashes, like what our producer had to deal with this afternoon
 

Chat-Roulette is free and available to anyone on the internet.
 

Parental control software like Cyber Patrol or Open DNS can prevent kids from accessing it or other sites parents might deem offensive.
 

But computer specialists advise that nothing comes close to the old stand-by; face-to-face parental supervision.
 

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