Chatroulette: Always a Risky Decision

Christina Tadin Staff Writer Brace yourselves, because there is no saying what you’ll see on the newest online fad, Chatroulette. Upon entering the “hip” website, a box appears with the rules of the site: 16 + and clothes. If you’ve ever been on the site, you would know that these rules are clearly not enforced. The set-up is easy: activate your camera, and press “play”. You are then plunged into an exotic world where you are joined through a webcam to an enormous succession of strangers from around the globe. They see you, and you see them. They talk to you, and, often, you make fun of them. They continue talking, but you become bored of them and hit next. It is safe to say this site has an appeal for everyone, obviously for different reasons. At any given time on Chatroulette, it is highly probable you will see a few girlfriends giggling together when they are actually really creeped-out, but have nothing better to do. You might be confronted with the lone girl looking for an online relationship. The funniest, and I guess creepiest, is the man trying to flirt with you while wearing his wedding band and does not know that the other stranger can see. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention about the naked people that tend to come up sometimes, like the man dancing half-naked in a kitchen in Amsterdam. I was on the site one day with a few friends when all we could do was stare in shock at a guy who had a gun to his head. After we disconnected, we sat in awe, disturbed by some of the provocative and disturbing sights we had seen. However, sights like that do not stop Latin students from going back for more. A few weeks ago, a couple of students were on the site when, before they knew it, they were talking to Soulja Boy and Snoop Dog. (Of course there are still debates on whether or not it was prerecorded). But that is what is so intriguing about Chatroulette. You see such outrageous things and different types of people that you are barely able to wrap your brain around the situation you are in before the person you were talking to is gone. Last time I checked, there were 35,000 users on the site, and most of these users are probably not using the website with ill intentions. It is a diverse pool of people, with some of them wanting to create new connections with others. I think one thing that is really great about Chatroulette is that people are able to express themselves, and act how they feel without anyone knowing who they are. There is no need for registration, so people can change their name a hundred times, and no one will know. It is somewhat like a momentary escape from the real world. Chatroulette may or may not continue to be the site of choice for students. On one hand, it might become as passé as Myspace, while on the other hand, some might see a promising future for the website. This could become the next big thing: a website where you can navigate incognito and meet people face to face around the world.]]>