Parents should be aware of a new internet site that poses potential dangers to your children. The site is free to access and is called Chatroulette The site allows anyone with a webcam on their computer to access and video chat randomly with people from around the world. Once you access the website you are paired with a random partner and can click "next" anytime to move on to a new partner. You can then video chat with the partner you are paired with. Iately individuals who are looking for far more than just conversation. The concern for law enforcement officials is that a large number of users on the site expose themselves or entice others to do so. Usually within 10-15 minutes of going on the site and clicking 'next" to find a new video chat partner an act of "indecency" is clearly transmitted. Users of the site must confirm that they are at least 16 years of age and that they agree not to broadcast obscene, offending or pornographic material but those barriers are easily bypassed and can expose your child to sexual predators. Unfortunately the Communications Decency Act of 1996 may exempt civil liability for Chatroulette itself, because the law has been interpreted to imply that operators of Internet services are not publishers, and therefore not legally liable for the content of third party users. Prosecuting offenders on the site is extremely difficult if not virtually impossible. The site does not require any formal registration and to date it has not been determined if any of the images or messages sent are archived. In addition many of the users and images being sent are from other countries around the world. The legal ambiguities on the use of this site are many and present many challenges to law enforcement officials and prosecutors. You can block Chatroulette by going to your computer's control panel - internet options- security- restricted sites and enter[ http://www.chatroulette.com/ ]www.chatroulette.com. Unless you can password protect this area on your computer it can always be defaulted back to the original settings.
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