Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chatroulette raises concerns for parents -- if their kids have webcams!


On Tuesday morning, ABC Good Morning America covered the new website “Chatroulette”, as written up by Brain Braiker here. The website allows someone with a webcam to be connected to random strangers for chat. The site is here.

It goes with saying that this sounds like “Russian Roulette” beyond speed dating (the kind in the movie “The Deer Hunter” maybe). But parents would be particularly concerned if minor kids did it, especially in the privacy of their rooms (if each kid has his or her own computer for homework). Just think about the recent Dateline series with Chris Hansen.

I suppose a parent could just block the site with a filter.

Kurt Eichenwald, a reporter with the New York Times, has argued that there is no legitimate reason for a kid to have a webcam at all, at least in his room (although many laptops come with them, as does mine – sorry, it’s not on right now, so you can’t see me!) His news story from Dec. 19, 2005 about Justin Berry is still worth studying, link here.

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