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Chat Roulette Dangers

If you have kids, chances are they spend time on the internet.

And after reading this story, you and your kids might want to have a serious heart-to-heart about where they can and can't go on the web.

It's called Chat Roulette and involves a video webcam and random strangers from around the world.

It's a growing trend on the internet and a potentially dangerous one.
Chat Roulette, invented by a 17-year-old Russian teen is taking off on the web as the next big thing.

It's a curious site that offers complete randomness and anonymity.

With extensive coverage on YouTube, the news, and word of mouth, chances are your kids already know about it.

With a click on Chat Roulette you can be talking to and seeing a person from across the globe or right next door.

No names, background or information on them at all. Just live pictures and sound of them and of you.

College senior Colleen Kelly uses Chat Roulette.

"Most of it is pretty obscene, and they're like, if they are not being obscene, they will ask us to do obscene things but like, that's like the beauty of the next button cause you could just disconnect automatically and like they have no way of knowing who you are unless you tell them," Colleen Kelly said.

"I would never actually like physically meet up with anyone from Chat Roulette, it's the same danger of meeting up with someone in a chat room," said Ali McGhee, a college sophomore.

We checked it out for ourselves Tuesday and saw what Colleen and her friends are talking about.

While some of the things we saw were harmless or even amusing, it didn't take long to click to people who were completely naked and even doing other things we can't begin to show you on TV.

Another problem with Chat Roulette is there's no age verification or registration required. You simply go to their website and with one click you are instantly on the web chatting with a complete stranger.

"Kids don't need a webcam in their room, they can connect with grandma from a webcam in the living room family room. Talk to your kids about the risk," said Ernie Allen,
President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Allen said this Is a site your kids have no business seeing.

"This is the last place parents want their kids to be," Allen added.

As our society becomes more and more plugged in, there's now a new way to find a smiling face, a new friend or a potential pedophile.

When it comes to questionable sites like Chat Roulette here are some tips:

Talk to your kids and have a game plan on what they can and can't do on the internet.

Use internet security software that blocks harmful sites.

It's hard to know what your kids know, but try to become Internet savvy and up to date on the latest web trends.

Chat Roulette launched in September 2009 and now has more than 85,000 users.

Parents: For information on how to keep your kids safe online, we recommend you read this information from ConnectSafely.org, a nonprofit information source for parents.


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