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Chatroulette: Will You 'Play The Game'?

Chatroulette: Will You 'Play The Game'?

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?

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  • roo25hoo By roo25hoo
    03.01.10  

    Very interesting! A new twist on ways to experience new things and have new encounters. I don't know how people would regulate it but something needs to be in place.

  • thriftychic By thriftychic
    03.01.10  

    This doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Especially since there is no way to know that by hitting "next" you won't see some naked dirty guy. I won't be visiting for sure.

  • chickadeecj By chickadeecj
    03.01.10  

    I think this is one of the scariest things to come out of the internet to date! You can be sure that its not regulated, that tweens under 16 are going to lie about their age to try the newest thing, and that its a breeding ground for sick pedophiles! How do we know that the second a person pops up that he can't get your IP address and know exactly where you live? Ugg.,.. I'm getting chills just thinking about it! I wont be visiting this site and neither will anyone in my family.

  • TraceyC By TraceyC
    03.01.10  

    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.

  • pjclayton57 By pjclayton57
    03.01.10  

    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.

  • idahospud By idahospud
    03.01.10  

    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • msfriendly By msfriendly
    03.01.10  

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

  • sazzlestyle By sazzlestyle
    03.02.10  

    This is very creepy. I will never!

  • BlondieKAA By BlondieKAA
    03.03.10  

    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.

  • cybrown551 By cybrown551
    03.04.10  

    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.

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