Chatroulette: Will You 'Play The Game'?

   By drodriguez  Mar 01, 2010

Just when you thought you were up to date with all the social networking sites, there comes something entirely new to wrap your mind around.  Chatroulette is the latest website drawing lots of interest and controversy to the social networking scene. 

The way the site is set up is incredibly simple.  A user just goes to the site, clicks the ’play’ button and is quickly connected with a "random stranger", webcam to webcam.  Even if you don’t own a webcam, you can check out the site, see who is on and chat via instant message - they just won’t be able to see you.  If you don’t like what you see, you simply click ’next’ to be connected with the next random stranger.  You can literally see a new person every second or so if you wish.  You don’t have to sign up to be a member or click on any links to "play the game".

The controversy comes into the picture when a user tries out the site and quickly realizes that there’s a lot of inappropriate behavior going on (mainly middle aged men exposing themselves).  Add this to the fact that the site is not very well regulated (simply stating in "terms of service" that users must be 16 or older and they will not tolerate obscene broadcasting) and you have a lot of worried parents.  The fact of the matter is Chatroulette encourages its users to talk to strangers, something parents have been discouraging their children against forever. 

Chatroulette is not all bad though.  For every inappropriate encounter, there is an enlightening one it seems.  Some users are taking advantage of the site in creative ways; chatting with a person from France to brush up on the French they are learning, broadcasting their music to other users around the world, using it as a dating site, drawing portraits of strangers they encounter, and much more.  With a little tweaking and filtering out the undesirable obscenities the site seems that it could be the next big thing.

The site has already been written up in numerous newspapers and even featured on Good Morning America, though the creator of the site has remained a mystery, until now.  The New York Times recently published an article revealing that they had found who they believe to be the creator of the site and the answer to this is just as bizarre as the site itself can sometimes be.  After reaching out to the contact listed on the site, the NY Times received an email back from a 17-year-old boy, Andrey Ternovskiy, living in Moscow who is taking responsibility for starting the site.

Ternovskiy reveals in the email interview that he started the site as a fun project and never expected it would generate such interest.  It started with ten users and just from word of mouth alone now sees traffic of about 20,000 people a night.  Ternovskiy says after getting bored using Skype, him and his friends just wanted a new and different outlet to use.

When asked about some of the inappropriate things going on on his site, Ternovskiy says, "Although some people are using the site in not very nice ways - I am really against it.  Others do really unbelievable things I could never think of." 

Since Ternovskiy is having a hard time keeping up with his ever-growing website he is looking ahead to the future.  Ternovskiy mentions that he would love to travel to the U.S. as his site has become very popular in this country and he would be interested in founding his company right here in the U.S.  He may just have something very big on his hands.

What do you think of the new social networking site, Chatroulette?  Is this something you may be interested in checking out?

Do you think there is a way this website can be regulated so that children will not be exposed to some of the more inappropriate broadcasting that goes on?

Make a Comment

marieJoachin by marieJoachin | Reading, PA
Jul 16, 2010

I have been on ChatRoulette... Its basicly sick men from 16- who know what age, who flash their privet parts to random strangers. It's very creepy, disgusting, disturbing and did i say disgusting?

Leggbeer by Leggbeer | Waltham, MA
Apr 15, 2010

After seeing this recently on a tv episode a male friend and I decided to log on an be on camera together. I have to say that while it's interesting t talk to other people with the same interests... most of the live stream that popped up was of male genitalia or people posed in seductive poses on beds or chairs. It was definitely something that should be 21+ but how would you regulate that in today's world. Even then.. I won't go back. I was disgusted.

ravikumar_madoori by ravikumar_madoori | Hyderabad, OU
Mar 23, 2010

This is very creepy. I will never!

LizLake323 by LizLake323 | Los Angeles, CA
Mar 09, 2010

Web sites like this one is the reason I will never buy my kids a web camera. It is also the reason that the kids don't have a computer in the bed room.

MyEmptyCanvas by MyEmptyCanvas | KOSCIUSKO, MS
Mar 07, 2010

If more regulations and filters, etc. were set into place, I could see this as a good way to chat for those that do such things anyway...

thebutlerdidit by thebutlerdidit | CHEBOYGAN, MI
Mar 06, 2010

cybrown551, this will not be useful in the ways you mention because the whole point is that it's a roulette-type setup where you don't know who you'll be connected to. I saw this story on one of the morning shows and there was lots of exhibitionist behavior going on. This is very bad all the way around.

bbred57 by bbred57 | Springfield, MN
Mar 06, 2010

I agree with thriftychic that I won't be visiting because I do not want to be hitting a button and all of a sudden see some dirty old man showing off his stuff. I do not think kids need to be seeing this either. There are plenty of decent sites out there, that you do not need to go finding creeps on sites like these.

SiLvEr-StArS by SiLvEr-StArS | REVERE, MA
Mar 05, 2010

I guess I would check it out, But the webcam thingy,yea can't trust people online. Some dirty/sicko peeps out there has we all know. Maybe the site should be 21+ and not 16 or older to play/join.

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Mar 04, 2010

This program could be a very useful tool. It can be used for tutoring children, business meetings, advertising and much more. However, regulating this site is definitely a severe need. I'm not sure of how to approach regulating this site to keep children from being exposed to obscene materials. But that is definitely something that needs to be done. I have a 17-year-old and I would not like for my child to be exposed to any obscene materials.

BlondieKAA by BlondieKAA | CRIVITZ, WI
Mar 03, 2010

Chatroulette does not sound like something I would like to check out! There are too many potential negative ramifications that run through my mind. I think it needs to be regulated. And since it's not, I guess it's up to parents to try to protect their children from sites like this.

sazzlestyle by sazzlestyle | Wyoming, MI
Mar 02, 2010

This is very creepy. I will never!

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Mar 01, 2010

Wow...this is a really scary idea. You know mostly kids will be the ones doing this and I think this is VERY unsafe!

idahospud by idahospud | haines, AK
Mar 01, 2010

there is no possible way to regulate a web cam.I think a pervert thought up this idea.If you have children block this website NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pjclayton57 by pjclayton57 | Oceanport, NJ
Mar 01, 2010

Wow, what a scary concept!! I am fearful of what things could happen as a result and pray that minors do not find their way onto this site. I sure hope that parents are blocking this site so their children do not have access.

TraceyC by TraceyC | THORNTON, CO
Mar 01, 2010

My husband is a middle aged man and he is the only person I want exposing himself to me! :) It sounds like chatroulette will just further the porn industry, something the internet has already been doing for years.