5 Things Parents Should Know About ChatRoulette

If you are a parent you should have heard about ChatRoulette.  To be honest, when I used to speak to parent groups I often explained that kids do not want to go online and meet strangers. The stranger-danger and predator issue was a bigger problem at the start of the web.

I would explain that kids want to go online mainly for the following reasons:

-To play games

-To chat with friends

-To share pictures with their friends

-To watch funny and entertaining videos

-To do homework.

Therefore, I often would explain this to parents, saying that kids do not want to talk to strangers as much as you do not want them too. Yet, ChatRoulette has changed the game.

What is ChatRoulette?

ChatRoulette was created by a 17 year-old.  It is a service where users can go online and chat and video chat with strangers.  See this picture is how the screen looks.  You can visualize how the chats work with the video.  You can save a user or talk to a random stranger at the click of a mouse.

What do Parents Need to Know About ChatRoulette?

1. Glamorizing Strangers

Now it seems that kids are much more interested in talking to strangers.  ChatRoulette has glamorized a once non-issue topic.

2. Creepy Becomes Funny

Many kids will say that talking to strangers is creepy.  After speaking with some of the kids who are using ChatRoulette the creepy factor has become funny.  When a man (see above) dresses in a cat suit, kids rate this as funny, hilarious even and not creepy or even weird.  That ‘creepy’ feeling is actually quite important for kids online.  It hints at that intuitive feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you, something is wrong here.

3. Cure for Boredom

Kids not only like going on ChatRoulette to meet strangers, but also parents need to be aware that kids also like to think of funny things they can do on ChatRoulette when they are bored.  Kids will spend hours (much like when they are trying to think of a clever YouTube video to be the next hit), trying to come up with funny things to do/wear/say when they meet an exciting stranger.

4. A Group Activity

Many kids like going on ChatRoulette in groups when they have nothing else to do.  They enjoy playing the ChatRoulette game together, discussing strangers that come up and then planning funny things for them to do.

5. How to Block It

Perhaps the most important thing for parents to know about ChatRoulette, besides why kids are using it is how to block it.  This is pretty easy to do:

  • Use Parental Control Software (I love Symantec’s FREE one, it’s amazing!)
  • Use Google Safe Search
  • Block the Site on Your Computer
  • Check the search history for ChatRoulette to see if your child has visited it.

6. Abundant Nudity

1 in out of every 10 people you get are masturbating or naked.  This is never appropriate for kids and teens. One of the girls I recently spoke to said it was the first man she ever saw naked outside of the posters in health class.  I think this is a terrible first (or second or third) exposure to nudity. It is dangerous and perverse.

Most of all, you should talk to your kids about ChatRoulette and how they think it could be dangerous (or fun).  I also highly recommend you spread this to your friends so your kid does not go over to their house and try it out.  Parents have to work together to keep kids online because kids so often go on the web at other people’s houses.

Good Luck!

14 Responses to “5 Things Parents Should Know About ChatRoulette”

  1. Daz
    March 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    All through this article, you say how kids are enjoying it, having fun, occupying them for hours using their imagination and then at the end you suggest banning the site? Odd?

    The ‘creepy’ man in a cat suit is not as creepy as you think. If you research a bit more, or actually spent on time on the site, then you would see that the people that do this are more than likely just the kids you are on about! You even say that kids spend hours thinking of things to do funny to people, so why be shocked when a guy/teen/kid/table(?!) appears dressed as a cat?!

    Also if you had done more research about the site, you would see it wasnt created by a 17 year girl, it was a 17 year old BOY from Russia, and is now being offered up $30,000,000 for the site and endorsement from google, microsoft and other big companies, including his countries government.

    Last one! Promise! You say that the user can be saved, which implies that you can save the user. No. You can not save, revisit on purpose, find again or stop the other person leaving. You meant that if both parties agree then the chat will carry on (untill the laughs of playing a video from youtube pretending somethings happening) until one party leaves.

    Sorry for the long post, but i just thought it was a bit of an over reaction to an innocent website (if you ignore the odd nude person which everyone has seen lots of times before and dont stay for longer than 5 secs) that was created by a teen for everyone including kids and adults.

    Thankyou :) Daryl, 21, West Wales x x

  2. Vanessa Van Petten
    March 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    highlight this part:

    “if you ignore the odd nude person which everyone has seen lots of times before and dont stay for longer than 5 secs) ”

    in my opinion, and many parents kids and teens should not see this.

  3. Nancy Stewart
    March 20, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks for this information. There is no reason for my kids to go to this site. There are many other ways for them to have fun online. Healthy, productive, creative ways for them to spend their time. Thanks again!!

  4. Jane
    March 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Personally… I don’t see how Chatroulette is any more dangerous than the rest of the Internet. The important thing to remember is that there is no way of contacting the other person after the chat is over, unless you specifically provide that information to that particular person. Teenagers love Chatroulette because it’s basically a reminder that people are a lot more interesting than they would seem from a quick glance. Do some “vulgar” things show up on the site? Of course. Are those things corrupting teenagers? … Not really. It’s not like we haven’t seen naked people. From my experience, those teenagers who haven’t seen a naked man outside of health class are few and far between.

  5. wanda
    April 7, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    It’s alarming! But much of what is available online can be as well. I don’t agree that “everyone’s” seen naked people somewhere. If you are free to roam about online (as many kids are) and watch tv & movies….then possibly you’ve caught a few nude scenes. However, some families are working overtime to protect their kids from such junk!
    I have 3 teens and they are pretty tech savvy…..however, they know when something is outside of their value boundary. We have taken extra steps to help them (accountability) not access garbage that will give them a jaded view of what God created special!

    It’s sad what society throws out there. More and more gross distorted filth is available and it’s becoming the norm.

    It only reminds me….THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME!!

  6. Dee
    April 12, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Jane! Jane! Jane!
    If you believe that how sad. Some kids actually live in homes that do not allow age inappropriate material to be viewed. This is away for kids to get a high by talking with someone who would other wise be too intimidated to show there real face! It could be a kid on the other end but it could also be a perv! Why take the chance hence the name Roulette!

  7. Leigh
    April 15, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    I totally agree with Dee.

  8. Funny
    April 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Chatroulette has tremendous social and value potential for all, but Chatroulette is full of pervs. Just noticed this site that brings together musicians to “JAM” with others, randomly, with the same concept. Let’s the music be the focus instead of nudity.

  9. Dave
    July 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    I feel sorry for your kids! Banning things will only exacerbate the behavior.

  10. Erich
    August 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Those of you parents who are accusing this website of being “dangerous” and “pervish” need to chill. Your the kind of parents who are ruining their children by shielding them from the real world. Everyone teen talks about sex, and drugs, and everything else. This website is just a fun thing and if some dude wants to be stupid and expose themselves, its not the end of the world. Your kids are going to find out about sex and see nude persons, its not going to ruin them. I found out about sex and saw nudity when I was 8 or 9 and I’m fine. I’m a leader in the community, my school, and my church and I’ll be going to Yale on a full ride scholarship. You need to take off the leash and let your kids live. Otherwise, they’ll leave the sheltered life you’ve had them in and get hit by the world we live in. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not.


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