The theme is simple enough: sign in, click a button and randomly connect with new friends via webcam around the world.
But, while you might visit ChatRoulette.com to meet a total stranger, what appears on your screen may be more than you bargained for.
Despite high marks for surprisingly good video quality and an exciting community of users, Chat Roulette is little more than a foray into the pornographic or sophomoric and not a community conducive to meeting new people.
Chat Roulette's Low Down Dirty Details
Yet, beyond the index page lies an often seedy world of high school and college students plus hormone-charged exhibitionists upon pressing the "New Game" button in the upper left corner.
After trying to give Chat Roulette the benefit of the doubt with more than a week of visits, I am convinced that the site's users are not reporting the myriad of flashers who flock to the site despite warnings against broadcasting sexually explicit content.
Without being too graphic, I’d say one out of every six people I was connected with on Chat Roulette was willing to flash their private parts at all hours of the day, making it extremely unfriendly for our underage Internet users who might stumble upon the site.
When I wasn’t given a unforeseen peep show by a heavy number of primarily male users, high school students aplenty opted to flash the bird, publicly eat Cheetos or commune in large groups awaiting their next video connection in front of viewers.
In short, the site is nothing more than a pornographic, sometimes juvenile romp.
Great Video Quality, Few Real Connections
In my personal tests, most Chat Roulette users will connect with a user and disconnect in a matter of two or three seconds. The sheer volume of connections in a single visit conveys to this writer that the site is not a very conducive community for meeting new friends, and therefore must be discounted as a valuable site in the context of social networking.
What are Chat Roulette users looking for? I theorize that many of the people on the site are simply looking for sexual gratification, but, I cannot stereotype all these users in good faith.
Chat Roulette’s only notable area of distinction is its clear, high quality video and audio connections, whether I was being screamed at, sexed up on web cam or shown streaming video of an anime film.
Now, if only they had content and people worth broadcasting.