Opinion: Chatroulette.com without the chat

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber is a sophomore English major and columnist for the Daily Kent State. You can contact her at [email protected].

As relaxing as winter break is, there are always those nights when you find yourself bored with nothing to do.

A few nights ago, I found myself in this very situation. So, like any college student, I surfed the Web with some friends. I had no idea what Chatroulette.com was, so when it came up on the computer screen, I was initially amazed at what I saw.

Here was a chat room where you can see and hear the person you’re talking to. You can also disconnect from the person whom you are connected with at any time and move onto someone else.

Not to mention you can be connected with people from anywhere in the world.

Fascinating, right?

Well, after three solid hours of this website, I found it, to say the least, R-rated.

A 2010 study of the website showed that you’re likely to come upon something vulgar once out of every eight spins. When my male friend was in front of the camera, people skipped through quickly, the same way one might browse through a shoe store, looking for a pair that appeals to them and ignoring the unattractive ones.

When I went in front of the camera, however, the skipping stopped and was replaced by commands of “Show me your tits.”

Coincidentally, the study also showed that 89 percent of users were male, and only 11 percent were female. On the rare occasion that I was paired with a female, I always asked her age, usually 14 or 15.

And every now and then I would come across a female who was nude, as if she could only gain confidence not by looking in the mirror, but by the sexual leer from whoever saw her naked.

At that point, the entire concept of this website changed from funny and amusing to kind of sick. Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture: this is a website dominated by males.

You have a 13% percent chance of seeing nudity or being sexually harassed at any given time.

With the overwhelming number of teens using the internet, the amount of child pornography being circulated through this website is unbelievable.

Why do we take things that have the potential to do good and make them destructive?

Think about it — with this website, you have the ability to meet people from all over the world, people with whom you can break cultural barriers, discuss politics and even learn new languages. Instead, everything is, as usual, centered on sex; in this case, even pedophilia.

I encourage everyone to seek entertainment in a way that sheds light on their own qualities and ignores the shallow thrills.