Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Warns Kentucky Parents About Chatroulette
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Cybercrimes Unit warn Kentucky parents that Chatroulette, a popular new video chat website, could expose kids to sexually explicit conduct on the Internet or even connect them to cyberpredators. The warning follows a recent investigation by General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit that resulted in some disturbing findings.
Chatroulette is a website that randomly pairs complete strangers for live video chats. During a one-hour undercover session on the website, an investigator from General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit was connected to 96 other participants located globally. Of those, 31, or approximately 30%, were engaged in some form of sexual exhibitionism ranging from nudity to graphic sexual conduct. The video feeds appeared within the viewing window with no communication, warning or other interaction other than the word "connecting."
"Our findings on Chatroulette are troubling and should sound an alarm for parents across Kentucky," said General Conway. "Websites like Chatroulette remind us of the dangers that exist on the Internet and how important it is for parents to monitor their children's online activities. I strongly encourage parents to keep their kids away from this website."
While on Chatroulette, General Conway's cybercrimes investigator was randomly connected to mostly men between the ages of 18 and 30. There were only five encounters with women and only a handful of men between the ages of 50 and 55. No attempts were made in any of the encounters to contact the undercover investigator, whose webcam was blocked, via voice or through keyboard chat.
Chatroulette is hosted on a commercial web-hosting site located in Frankfurt, Germany. Users are supposed to be at least 16 years old; however, it does not appear the rule is enforced, which makes parents preventative measures particularly important. The website also indicates it does not tolerate broadcasting obscene, offending, pornographic material and will have to block users who violate the rules from using the service.
Attorney General Conway reminds Kentucky parents about the steps they can take to protect their kids from websites like Chatroulette.
- Keep the computer in a public area such as the family room, kitchen or living room, not in your child's bedroom.
- Monitor your child's online activities.
- Teach your child never to meet an online friend offline unless you are with them.
- Keep kids out of chat rooms unless they are monitored.
- Warn your children that people they meet online may not be who they say they are.
In June 2008, General Conway created a special Cybercrimes Unit devoted solely to investigating crimes that occur online, particularly Internet predators who target Kentucky kids. To date, General Conway's Cybercrimes Unit, a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), has seized more than 55,214 child pornographic images and videos, launched more than 100 child porn investigations resulting in felony charges filed against 54 individuals.
General Conway and his staff have also presented more than 100 cybersafety programs reaching 24,000 Kentucky kids and their parents.