What are Video chat rooms?
A live video chat room is a system that allows Internet users to be able to see other users’ video feeds from the webcams on their computers.
The Dangers of an Online Video Chat Room
Some of the dangers come in the form of creating a stalker or a person who blackmails you when using the services of online video chat rooms.
Internet stalkers are very clever. They have practised what they say online to lure the unsuspecting person into trusting them. Some sexual predators even use fake videos made of someone who is not them to capture the attention of others.
For example, a sexual predator can show a video of a young boy masturbating to entice a young girl of the same age as the boy shown in the video, to engage in pornographic video chat sessions. This is extremely convincing because the “fake” boy shows the video of himself being naked first.
Then over time, the unsuspecting girl answers a few simple questions in casual chat, which include:
- How old are you?
- What city do you live in?
- Where do you go to school?
- Where do you work?
Sometimes the questions are phrased as statements to make the information seem innocuous. An example of this would be when a “fake” boy says in an online chat that he is fourteen and he has already shown a sexy video of himself to “prove” this. This is very convincing, but not necessarily true. Then he makes a statement like this, “Since I am only fourteen, I do not want to chat with girls who are not my age or younger.” The targeted girl innocently answers she is only thirteen.
As reported by Pei-Sze Cheng of NBC News, Internet sexual predators have unlimited access to all teenagers that are online. Some do this for sexual gratification. Others do this for blackmail. Most of them are so busy maintaining contact with dozens of potential targets that they do not have to pay particular attention to any specific one unless she or he cooperates with their requests. This is how the sexual predators lure them in and make the teenagers voluntarily cooperate. Adults such as lonely women or older gay men can be fooled as well.
One famous example, that is currently in the courts because the guy was caught, is the case of a 35-year-old man, who tormented a Canadian teen girl named Amanda Todd with such relentless cyberbullying that she committed suicide due to the harassment. The man accused of the circumstances that led to Amanda Todd’s taking her own life is a sexual predator. He is currently under trial in Sweden for the sexual exploitation and blackmail of many young girls who were his victims. All of his efforts were to get young teenage girls from around the world to make sexually explicit videos for him.
The ability of a stalker to locate a victim and learn where they live, work, or go to school is actually a very easy process. The stalkers hide using software or services that mask their IP address (computer location) and use various aliases to disguise who they really are at the same time are very clever in finding out information about a targeted person and the location of the real people they are chatting with using video chat services.
The stalker of Amanda Todd first made contact with her in an online video chat system. He pretended to be her age. He was so patient and waited for about a year while chatting with her until he got her to make a revealing video of her breasts to show him. This perpetrator was doing exactly the same thing with many other young girls. Amanda was only one of his victims.
One of the techniques used to attack UK men is to find married men, who are closeted (being secret) about enjoying gay sex. A gang pretends to be a handsome young man interested in the targeted man. The gang uses the video chat system to get the man to show explicit videos of him masturbating and then uses the captured chat video sessions to blackmail the men.
The modus operandi (a legal term in Latin that means “the way of doing things”) of this criminal type is to get the people to make a sexually explicit video, transmit it to the criminal gang online, and then threaten the targeted men with exposure of what they did. The extortion gang or criminal says the video will be revealed to friends, schoolmates, teachers, employers, and family unless the target of the attack makes more sexually explicit videos for the blackmailer or sends them some cash payments.
Is Chat Room Video Temporary or Permanent?
Videos made and recorded in any chat room are permanent. This may surprise the users of these systems because they think the videos are temporary. The person viewing it so easily captures the video from the video chat rooms and it remains recorded in many video chat system archives. It is very simple to understand this, if a person gets to see a video image on their computer screen, they can very easily record it.
Can Others See My Video Chat?
Yes! All explicit online video chats can be recorded and disseminated to the public so EVERYONE IN THE WORLD can see them. An online video chat room is viewable by more than just the participants involved in the chat. To be very clear about this, when any person makes a sexually explicit online video chat it is exactly like they went out to the street in front of their house, took off all their clothes, and engaged in sexually explicit behaviour for all their neighbours, friends, and parents to see. There is NOTHING private about the Internet!
Privacy on the Internet is Almost Non-Existent
The Internet has massive amounts of sexually explicit videos and photos of many people. No matter what age, online video chat is potentially dangerous. Videos chats made in private are so easily made public that anyone making a sexually explicit video is essentially exposing himself or herself to the entire world.
A good rule of thumb that makes common sense is that if you would not go outside in the daytime, in front of your own house, and do something in public so everyone in your neighbourhood is able to see what you did, then you should NOT do this same thing online.
Safely Using Video Chat Rooms
If a person takes a few extra precautions when using video chat rooms, then there is less risk of any further harm. Video chatting is fun because people like to connect with each other. Meeting strangers from around the world is exciting. It may surprise our dear readers that we are not suggesting the banishment of video chat or that people should remove technology from their lives entirely.
Quite the opposite, we know that using technology to send explicit photos and videos from one person to another is extremely enticing. The attraction to do this is strong for a person of any age, but even more enticing for young people, especially teens who are exploring their sexuality for the first time. Most psychologists who understand the attraction of sharing intimate videos and photos safely would find this process nearly harmless, as long as safety precautions are taken.
The reason there has been explosive growth in the sharing of intimate photos and videos by electronic means is that it feels like there is a barrier of the technology that can be thought of as a “glass wall,” which separates the people participating in such intimate sharing. It is not possible to actually reach out and touch someone physically through any means of electronic communication. This creates a sense of false security.
When following some simple precautionary rules, this becomes more of a game and less of a threat. Here are the safety rules for sharing explicit videos or photos:
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or IP blocker privacy service when participating in these video chats. This is the first step to take for protecting your anonymity, by not allowing the other person to know where you are located in the physical world.
- Never transmit videos or photos that show your face. Your body is OK, but a face connected to a body is very dangerous to show in explicit videos or photos to anyone you do not know personally.
- Do not give any truthful data about yourself. In fact, since the whole game of video chat is about fantasy, it is recommended to create a character that is completely false and who does all the sexually explicit things, but is NOT the real person. In other words, make up a character that does these things, as if you are role-playing.
- Remove any items that are viewable in the background of any photo or video. For example, remove any posters on the walls behind you, and photos or anything that could identify where you live or give more information about your real self.
Extra Precautions for Mobile Video Chat Rooms
NEVER use your smartphone or mobile phone to connect to online video chat services, because a mobile telephone is easily used to determine the physical location of a person. This ability to track a mobile phone used to be only accessible by the police or secret (spying) services. This is no longer true. Virtually anyone who has the correct technical skills can find out YOUR EXACT PHYSICAL LOCATION when you use a mobile phone to connect to the Internet.
Who Are the People in Random Video Chat Rooms?
They are complete strangers. They may be fun, and exciting, and they may be extremely dangerous. They may not be who they say they are.
Are There Any Safe Kids Video Chat Rooms?
There are some chat rooms, which have some safeguards in place to protect children. The basic safeguards are age restrictions for usage (given voluntarily) that may request identification of the participants and/or parental permission. We have not yet found a system that cannot be broken by a determined sexual predator, so it is impossible to recommend a safe video chat system for kids.
Free Video Chat Rooms
There are many free video chat rooms. Most of these free video chat websites cost nothing to join but as we have already warned everyone uses BEWARE.