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Michael Andrews ENC 1102 Joseph Cottle 17 February 2013 To Chat or Not To These days in the world we are surrounded with technology such as cell phones and computers. With this technology we are able to send pictures from one place to another in a matter of seconds or we even have the ability to talk to someone face to face at any moment. Chat rooms can be a menace or a person’s best friend, but do their benefits outweigh the damage they can cause? .

A set of problems that are seen over the internet are video chat rooms, which include sites

such as chatroulette and omegle. The point of these websites is to allow people to chat without actually having to type; instead one is on video and they can use sound in order to speak to another person. These sites can be a problem because they have video and some people do not use the best decision making when they are on video. If a couple of guys were to ask a couple of girls to take off their tops, I believe eventually they would eventually give in because men can be more persuasive than women. It would allow for more people to be cyber bullied and be taken advantage of because of the camera aspect of the chat. This video can lead to bad situation for whomever falls victim to it, because it can later prove to be detrimental to one’s real life or future career. In that when these people go into a job interview, they give the company they are trying to work for the permission in order to go on to their personal resources. When someone


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post something on the internet, even if you delete it, it is never truly gone. So when a company sees that let us just say a girl has a topless picture of herself that they found while digging through her files. This little tiny picture puts a bad seed into the companies head that this possibly employee is a wild child and could be a liability if hired. So they pass over this person even if they are indeed more qualified than the other candidates just because they found something posted which questioned that person’s character. During these chats, a bond is formed more than a chat room because the people are normally who they appear and not some cat-fish type person who could claim to be 24 but really is 50. The two people chatting are able to see the other, so they are more likely to discuss things they would not in an anonymous chat room. Despite much negative press, there are some positive aspects about video chat rooms. For example, when one goes on chatroulette before they start chatting they are able to customize their interests in order to find people that share the same common interests as they do. This allows the person to at least know something that can be discussed while they are on the site. This site is also an excellent way to find a pen pal via technology, because it connects people from different country. In fact it was actually created by a Russian teen which demonstrates how technology and its usage are universal. With that people are able to interact with those people from different places. This allows for the transfer of many pieces of information such as culture, traditions, and if you are lucky enough, food. Also if one is studying a foreign language than this is the perfect opportunity to practice if they can find someone in that language. Also the fact that there are so many people that go on these sites makes it more inviting to do so. If a person does not want to talk to you, then that person can skip to whomever is next and “just keep going; You can try something new each time,� (Wesch) you meet someone. This in itself is a useful tool for people in that it allows them to practice their


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social behavior in front of actual people and not have if they misspeak to the person. They have another chance if the one they are talking to skips them and this helps build the confidence the more and more they speak to these people. So once they have chatted a little bit, then the man might ask for the woman to take her top off and little does she know that he might be is recording the scene and taking photos on his computer as well. So once she does this she is clearly comfortable with him she might give her name and where she lives and quite possibly her phone number. This could prove problematic if the man turns out to be a criminal, stalker, or malicious. This was the case of Amanda Todd who was a tenth grade student in Canada. She went on one of the video sites and was convinced to strip on camera. She claimed “he snapped a photo, attempted to use it to blackmail her into performing an erotic "show" and when she refused, reportedly made good on his threat by forwarding the image to her friends, family and classmates” (Hopper). This lead to her having depression and even to the point that she taped herself committing suicide so that she could finally escape the scrutiny that she got from her peers. In terms of statistics, on chatroulette in 2012, “of the spins showing a single person, 89% were male and 11% were female” (Moore). This statistic is not very surprising based off of my personal experience with these types of sites. When I have gone on these types of sites they are always a significant amount of men that are either looking for girls or playing with themselves so that girls can see that and think it is “sexy.” Another statistic for these types of websites would be that 13% of people are doing this exact thing on these websites and are consider to be perverts.(Moore) Not too many people are actually using the site for its intended purpose. More times than not, the people on these websites are males that are looking to prey on females.


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Though not as common, during these chats it is not just women that are singled out men too are preyed upon as well. Also there are those people who go on these video sites just to make fun of people. Mrtechnicaldifficult is a YouTube sensation in which his job is to go onto these sites and do nothing more than just insult as many people as he can while he is on. He goes on these sites and finds people and does nothing more than call them “fat” or “ugly” etc. Also another funny thing would be when he see the men playing with themselves he will other pretend to vomit or play “Beat It” by Michael Jackson in order to call them out as creepers. The fact that this channel has over 1 million subscribers shows that America does not care if people are offended, just that whatever they are watching is funny. He jokes to girls about if they want to take their clothes off. Normally most of the girls he talks to do not perform the action of stripping for him, but that only from the videos he post. There is the chance that the excess footage he gets while getting his video could have girls doing it. He does this to try to be that funny but really does not want to see it but would rather expose the creepy side of the website. Besides Mrtechnicaldifficult there are many people that go on for the sole purpose of just annoying and making fun of people. More YouTubers do this and posted it on their channels in order to get people to more views and try to improve their YouTube fame. But there are just those people that like to make of people on the site. In order to take out anger they go onto one of the video sites and yell and scream or bully them just to bring their self esteem down and to make them feel better about themselves. On the other side of the spectrum are those people who do not want to make fun or hurt anyone but would rather just mess around and have a good time. For example one is on


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chatroulette and expecting to see another dude, when all of a sudden you see a man in a chicken suit. This man is not trying to do anything harmful or try to corrupt anyone. Instead this man is on the internet dancing around in a chicken suit in order to make you laugh. Another example would be a man spent “15 seconds watching live via webcam as some guy danced around his room in a gas mask while wrapped in the American flag,” and when the man dancing saw the other guy he then nexted him to go to the next person(Fletcher). He did this because he just wanted to spread a little laughter. A person that is making a living doing this sort of thing would be another YouTube star by the name of Steve Kardynal, a short little man with a full beard and great sense of humor. What he does is he goes on these sites and to a song such as “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen or “Peacock” by Katy Perry and then he dresses in different types of bikinis and wears a wig and just dances and sings to the songs. He most of the time teases the guys by turning around and showing his back so they think he is a girl in a bikini. But then all of a sudden he turns around and these guys and girls just look at this funny little man who is dress like a girl pelvic thrusting and just jamming out to the music. At first most react really disgusted especially the male viewers, but then after a few seconds the viewer normally cannot help but just start cracking up since it is hilarious. Steve shows the side of chatroulette where they are not there to try to show you his junk, although the swim suit does not help, but never the less he is there to make sure that people are laughing. This just shows the difference in how some people use these sorts of websites. On one hand you have some nasty old man who is just trying to see some little girl show off the goods, and on the other hand you have people who honestly want nothing more than to put a smile on other people’s faces. Since there are people who would rather be creepers normally it taints the


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name of these sites to nothing more than a site where creepy old men go and creep on young girls. Not to often do you hear to many positive things about these sites in comparison to the negatives. That is why in the pass years, Andrey Ternovskiy(creator of Chatroulette) has “spent the last several months working furiously to clean up the site in an effort to recapture the original wildfire interest in it” (Wortham). This clean up is being done so that once again chatroulette can be seen once again as a fun way to interact with people all over the world instead of creepers doing disgusting things. As in the case of YouTube star these types of website are also used for good in that they allow the star to be able to go on them and speak directly with their fans. For example, although Mrtechnicaldifficult is a jerk on chatroulette, he normally goes on to omegle for hours just saying hi, taking pictures, and just relaxing and talking directly to his fans. This allows him to see what his fans like and dislike and this allows him to change or edit his material in order for them to continue to do this. Also it is not just YouTube stars that go onto these sites, but also celebrities such as Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber do this as well. These sites are good in that they allow normal people the ability to speak to those people who they normally would dream of being able to talk and allow them to do it in a more personal matter instead of just through letters. Another example of an anonymous would be just normal text based chat room. This would be those chats where one can not see the person they are chatting, instead are just writing to a random person who says they are someone and could be completely different. Girls aged 12 to 18 have been found to spend at least 74% of their time on chat rooms or instant messaging (Berson & Ferron, 2002), which leads to the stat that “17% percent of the girls surveyed confessed to on-line bullying compared to 10% of the boys.” (Berson & Ferron, 2002) This


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statistic is not surprising due to the fact of girls are in these chat rooms and therefore talk to more strangers than boys do. With these chat rooms comes a level of trust that comes with it. In some cases it has been seen that those people who use chat rooms end up talking to the people on the other side of the chats more than people in the real world. This could be the fact that chat rooms allow those shy people who do not like to speak to other in a public setting, to be able to talk openly with another individual in a way they are comfortable doing. This connection to some extent could be the only real conservations they have with people since they can do it in the real world. It allows them to connect to that person and have an extremely close bond in which they can tell them their deepest, darkest secrets and they feel that nothing is wrong with that. Unlike the video chat, when doing a chat room you never know who you could be talking to. They allow one to come up with whoever they want to be. The person could claim to be a 15 year old girl who is just looking for someone to talk to but could really be a 45 year old man who just loves to tease guys. Another situation could be just a younger version of oneself such as 45 year old saying he 19 and then tricking the person into meeting them. With this being the case, one does not know truly how the person is. The 45 years old man who said he was 19 could be some short of killer or a rapist and you would not know until you would actually meet up with him and find his true identity. An example of this people saying they are no who they are would from the film “Trust.� In this movie a young girl starts using a chat room and comes across this man who see makes an instant connection with and feels like it only them talking. When they decide to meet up the girl finds out that the man she was talking to was not the 20 year he said he was. But she still has


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that connection and trust him so what happens next is he rapes her. Which after this causes problems everywhere for the girl and eventually causes her to contemplate suicide which she attempts but is unsuccessful. Anonymous chat sites have their pros and cons. They can lead to good friendship over the internet, but can also lead to people taking their own lives. To me I feel that in the end these websites were made for good purpose and can still be used for good, but too many people misuse the websites for inappropriate reason which makes them harmful.


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Work Cited Cyberbully. Dir. Emily Osment. Perf. Emily Osment. Gaiam Americas, Inc., 2012. Film. Fletcher, Dan.”Chatroulette” Time 175.9(2010): 49. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 March 2013 Hopper, Tristian. "Amanda Todd suicide: No simple answers in complicated tragedy | Canada | News | National Post."National Post | Canadian News, Financial News and Opinion. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/12/31/year-in-ideas-high-profilesuicides-such-as-amanda-todds-show-there-are-no-simple-answers/>. Moore, Robert . "Chatroulette Is 89 Percent Male, 47 Percent American, And 13 Percent Perverts | TechCrunch."TechCrunch. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/16/chatroulette-stats-male-perverts/>. Parry,Marc. “Chatroulette Lures Students With Low- Stakes Socializing.” Chronicle Of Higher Education56.33(2010): A1-A12. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 March 2013 Shariff, Shaheen. "Cyber Dilemma."Google Docs. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:Jll7Xop7CaYJ:socialwork.usc.edu/~rastor/relevant_lite rature/cyber_bullying_2.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESixjlSLVZwi0d6RJV0ML VNaHcNPGw9SEGe9-7-KpElU67_AEn6pbgiEVAEgXZMlDi3rh94OfsIKlQduYHRQjns6ikkvokC4ido8pzNeS-uW>. Trust. Dir. David Schwimmer. Perf. Clive Owens. Millennium Entertainment, 2011. Film.


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Wortham, Jenna. “Chatroulette Gives Rises to Genre.” The New York Times. Web. 14 April 2013. < http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/22/technology/22roulette.html?_r=0>

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