ChatRoulette, a new site that randomly pairs users across the globe in audio and video chat, is getting lots of coverage as a danger to kids.
In response, the site’s creator has placed a “report abuse” button on the site, but it appears to be a button to nowhere, as the speed-dating nature of the site means that users are more likely to simply click next, especially since the site’s inception it has been unclear what actually constitutes abuse. Moreover, there appears to be no process for actually removing a reported user from the site even if someone were reported.
The site’s creator, Andrey Ternovskiy, can hardly be blamed for a lack of foresight as he is just a kid himself at 17. He originally created the site as a way to expand on he and his friends’ chatting activities, and did not bank on the site becoming the overnight success that it has.
The site’s success, and subsequent media coverage, means that people are hearing about the site and many of those will be minors. Our CTO Aaron Kenny says that his concerns with ChatRoulette go beyond just concerns of minors being exposed to indecent or pornographic content:
“Even the concept of being hooked up with a random person for a chat can be dangerous for a child, so we’ve categorized it as a blocked site,” Kenny explained. “In terms of getting something inappropriate, you can almost say the odds on ChatRoulette are even worse than playing Russian Roulette.”
Safe Eyes users will be automatically protected from exposure to the site, but parents who do not use filtering technology may want to talk to their kids about why the site is inappropriate for them, and check up frequently on their child’s computer use. Tests of the site have revealed that a user can be exposed to pornographic content in less than two minutes.