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Heard of Chat Roulette yet? You Need to Know the Internet Lingo and Webcam Activity Your Kids Could be Hiding!
March 2, 2010, HOUSTON - The resurgence of webcam and Internet video chat activity makes it the perfect time for parents to freshen up on their “Internet lingo” and knowledge of new technology. A website quickly rising in popularity is called “Chat Roulette” (www.chatroulette.com). It instantly pairs strangers from around the world in a chat/webcam interface. This lets each of the chatters write, talk to, and see each other.
At the heart of it, the website was not made to be dangerous, but because of its simple nature, it allows kids to easily turn on their webcam and quickly talk to strangers. It started in November 2009 but didn’t gain worldwide attention until February 2010. That’s when several thousand people at any moment could be found on the chat service.
Those who have used Chat Roulette say a majority of the webcams contain obscene images, including nudity and sexual activity. In between this graphic content, you’ll find non-obscene chatters, including preteens and kids.
It’s for this reason, many parental groups say kids should not be on Chat Roulette at all (or any video chat service). While the website has a “report this user” feature, there is no way to protect children 100 percent of the time. In addition, to keep them from partaking in an obscene Internet meeting, kids should not be allowed to have computers in their bedrooms, and they should not have webcams.
In 2009, the website NetLingo published their list of the “Top 50 Chat Acronyms Every Parent Needs to Know.”
The website documents popular phrases and words from across the web. Many of these phrases are used by teens hide information from parents - either by web chat or over a cell phone text message.
Use of the words doesn’t always indicate there’s a problem, but several of them should be immediate red flags to parents.
A few of the words on the list:
“F2F” - “Face to Face” Conversations with this in it, may be a stranger arranging a meeting in person
“CD9” - “Parents Are Around” This one is not a direct acronym, it’s just “code speak” for letting other chatters know the “parents are around” and perhaps a more “adult conversation” cannot be had
“POS” - “Parents Over Shoulder” Same use as CD9
"KPC” - “Keeping Parents Clueless” While the humor in this one is probably harmless, it may indicate your kids are hiding something
“ASL” -- "Age/Sex/Location" This is one of the oldest acronyms from the web (and still very common), sparking chatters to share personal information; it’s one of the most popular, and kids should never ask it or provide the information asked
“ADR” - "Address" A way for chatters to quickly exchange mailing or location addresses
“GNOC”/”GYPO” - Remove your clothing Both of these acronyms ask the other person to take off their clothing
“PRON” - Alternate spelling for "porn" A more innocent spelling for adult content on the web, intended to avoid triggering red flags in chat-monitoring programs, it has become more common and is now widely used in reference to pornography
In the end, know that software and web providers cannot guarantee your kids will not see obscene content. Parents must be proactive in not letting their children on the Internet unless a watchful eye is around. In addition, moms and dads should have an open conversation with their kids about the risks.