Do casual chat sites like omegle and chatroulette still exist?
Absolutely. There are more than enough people on these sites today to keep the population growing. The only thing is, they're all operated by teenagers. They're all about 18 years old. So, there's no way to predict what the demographics of these sites will be in five years time. All we can do is try and build the sites as close as we can to today and try to make them relevant to teenagers today.
What's the difference between a chatroulette and a website? A website is something that people can download and do anything on. A website is something that you actually have to buy and use to actually watch something on video and to actually listen to an author speak to you in a video chat room. A lot of the time a website just takes too much space. A lot of the time, a lot of the time, a website just doesn't have enough features to make it a really fun, unique experience. So when you talk to teenagers about chat sites, they always want to emphasize the special, special stuff that they see. They always want to talk about how the servers are kept open at all times and they want to talk about the huge, amazing teams of people that keep these sites online. And in that way, they're really tapping into something that's really missing from teenage online experience--that same curiosity and spark of idea that makes us teenagers want to keep going back. That spark of creativity, that spark of energy, that spark of emotion that causes us to keep trying new things and making new friends.
But the problem with a lot of this is that almost no one is testing their websites or making their chat rooms more interactive is the problem with teenage suicide. Kids are dying from not being offered help or services that they need. Not being believed or having their lives saved. That's right. Kids are dying as a result of teenagers not wanting to be around adults who they perceive to be too controlling, too difficult or not nice enough.
There's a reason why eight- and 10-year-olds are the most suicidal people in the school. They're the ones getting bullied the most. They're the ones cutting their hair short and shaving their legs. They're the ones eating junk food their parents force them to. They're the ones getting harassed by other teenagers. That's because teenagers are taught to be ashamed of themselves. They're taught that being vulnerable and having a bad experience is not a reason to abuse or harm someone else. Indeed, the internet has enabled teenagers to come to terms with their own sexuality and with their sexuality in particular, without ever having to engage in that particular behaviour.
And this is why it's so important that schools teach teenagers respect and vulnerability. Because without these lessons, high schools and college, and ultimately, our juvenile prisons, we're teaching teenagers how to identify and avoid danger, and how to control it when it presents itself. We're