February 22, 2010

EIE President Donna Rice Hughes talks Chat Roulette with WUSA9

Taking a Gamble with Chat Roulette
VIENNA, Va. (WUSA) -- The latest craze in cyberspace is something called chat roulette.
It was created by a 17-year-old high school student from Russia. He said he built the site as a game and is not pleased at how some people are using it.
Chat rooms allow you to talk to anyone anywhere in the world, and with chatroulette.com you can see them and their world.  Some are saying the online fad is just another venue for sex and porn.
Within 5 seconds you can see who you're randomly chatting with anywhere across the globe. 
9NEWS NOW's Surae Chinn spent a few minutes on the website. 
Someone asks, "Would you like to come to Paris?"
She came virtually face to face with strangers in France, South Africa, the UK and Maryland in 10 minutes.
All sorts of images popped up including a man holding a Ziploc bag with a leafy green substance, and men and women engaged in various sex acts.  The group from Paris held up signs saying they liked nudity.   Another man flipped off the camera.
You roll the dice and you never know what's going to come up next and some say that's the appeal.
Donna Rice Hughes, President of the internet safety organization Enough is Enough, launched the program Internet Safety 101® to warn and educate parents about cyber dangers.
She says, "There's nothing wrong with chat roulette. Will it be used by predators and pornographers, certainly.  It's video chat with social networking with Vegas roulette and speed dating. It's all really fast and very addictive." 
Chat roulette is so new it has no safe guards. You can't set your profile to private.
The website says you're suppose to be 16 or older but the restrictions are not enforceable.
Rice Hughes says learn to be a good cyber parent. Restrict webcams to only family and also friends who are approved. Parents can easily turn on filters for chat rooms.
Written by Surae Chinn
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com