Friday, February 26, 2010

Sue Scheff: Should You Allow Your Teens to Talk to Strangers Online? Chatroulette, a new concern for parents

A 17 year-old boy in Moscow created a new chatroom website: Chatroulette.

"I created this project for fun," Andrey Ternovskiy wrote in an e-mail to the paper. "Everyone finds his own way of using the site. Some think it is a game, others think it is a whole unknown world, others think it is a dating service." - New York Times

What does this mean for parents? Another website to monitor and talk to your kids about. If you haven't heard of Chatroulette, you may think that talking about it will only create curiosity with your kids. It may, however knowing about it can help you to be educated about it and talk to your teens intelligently about Chatroulette.

Chatroulette gives a person an opportunity to communicate, converse with people they would otherwise never know. It is talking to strangers. Anonymity encourages all types of people with a variety of colorful stories (whether true or not). This site is not blocked for minors, so it is up to the parents to be sure they have their parental controls and filters in place.

However remember, no matter how many fire walls you install, blocks to websites, etc.... unless your child understands the dangers, they will always find a way to get to where they want to surf. It is as easy as going to a friend's computer, your local library or even an Internet café with their allowance.

Education is key. As a parent you should learn about this latest trend and talk to your kids about it.

While Promise of New Web Site Is to Connect Strangers, the Practice Can Be Something Creepier - Good Morning America

Watch video for more information on Chatroulette by