Controversial video chat website Chatroulette has resurrected during the coronavirus locks, with daily users more than doubling since early 2020
- The controversial video chat site Chatroulette came to fruition during COVID-19
- Everyday users have more than doubled, according to founder Andrey Ternovskiy
- He expects the user base to triple to three times as many users within a month
Chatoulette’s daily user numbers have more than doubled from 50,000 to more than 120,000 since the beginning of the year, as the world blocks coronavirus.
First launched in 2009, the site randomly connects users to other strangers in a video chat session that can end on either side at any time.
Founder Andrey Ternovskiy believes the platform has become even more useful now that many people have closed indoors and are no longer in regular social contact.
The infamous video chat site Chatroulette has more than doubled its daily users during the COVID-19 pandemic, from 50,000 in early 2020 to more than 120,000 currently
“Our numbers are gradually increasing as more people have to stay in place,” he said The Daily Beast.
“There are people who naturally stay at home, and now everyone has to. They are rediscovering Chatroulette. ‘
“I didn’t think usage would double. I did not expect it. It will be tripled soon. ‘
Ternovskiy originally developed the site as a hobby project to practice programming when he was 17 years old.
The site sparked a number of controversies during the first wave of popularity.
A family reported that their 11-year-old was forced to strip by an adult during a video chat.
The experience was so unexpected and traumatic that the family reported leaving the child suicidal and in need of guidance.
In 2013, the British support foundation Cybersmile said they received 15 calls a week from parents reporting that their children had been harassed or abused on the site.
According to the site’s founder, Andre Ternovskiy, Chatroulette has helped people deal with the emotional and psychological challenges of isolation. “Our numbers are gradually increasing as more people have to stay in place,” he said
The site has revised its rules and guidelines after years of controversy over the media. To minimize the risk of sexual harassment and abuse of minors, the site specifically prohibits sexual content from filtered chats
The complaints included bullying, blackmail and requests for sexual material from minors.
Chatroulette has since revised some of its policies and rules to make it easier to ban users and prevent abuse.
Chats are now divided into two categories: filtered chats, where no sexual content is allowed; and random / unfiltered chats, where no children or minors are allowed.
The site’s guidelines also focus on consent and consideration.
‘When in doubt, ask your partner for permission’, the location guidelines advise.
“Treat your partner the way you want to be treated.”
WHAT ARE THE EIGHT DIFFERENT WAYS IN WHICH CYBER BULLIED CAN BECOME?
According to Dr. Lara McLoughlin, a researcher at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, cyberbullying can involve both overt (insults, ridicule, shame) and secret (exclusion, isolation) aspects.
Cyberbullying may involve written verbal behavior such as phone calls, text messages and social media comments.
Eight examples of cyberbullying are:
- Trolling: purposefully posting hurtful comments to provoke a response.
- Flaming: a series of aggressive comments from one to another.
- Visual behavior: Post, send, or share photos or videos, usually to be embarrassing.
- Exclusion: intentionally exclude someone from an online group or, in the case of online gaming, exclude a player from groups or teams.
- Catfishing: forging online identities to seduce the victim into romantic relationships.
- Imitation of identity: Using the victim’s name and account to damage the victim.
- Stalking: For example, send multiple text messages to the victim to let the bully know exactly what they are doing, where they have been.
- Impending violence: threaten a form of traditional bullying, such as a physical fight.