By now, you've been to Chatroulette.
And if you're anything like me, you got tired of it faster than Usan Bolt can run a 100 meter dash.
For one, I'm not a big online chatterer. I don't IM. I rarely post anything to Facebook. And I'd rather go hunting for snipe than babble to someone on Skype.
Oh. And seeing some random dude in his parent's basement choke his Chicken Little with a copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 is only funny once. OK. Maybe twice. OK. Three times. After that, it's boring.
So I have no reason to go back there or any other online Chatroulette-like site again.
But thanks to a new Live 5 report I had to venture into the land of lonely ladies looking for conversation and bareknuckled blokes beating their meat.
Live 5 reported that a 12-year-old had visited Omegle, which the local news station (or at least whoever handles their online news content), called a "pedophile website."
The report triggered my Spidey Sense. It just didn't seem likely that a "pedophile website" would be operating out in the open. That shit would be shut down like that.
So I went to Omegle and, well, it was just Chatroulette all over again — there were lots of blank-eyed Euros staring at the screen and a fair number of pantless wankers. While you may object to the latter, the former, or both — U.S.A., U.S.A. — one thing was clear: Omegle is not a "pedophile website." It's just lame. Kids shouldn't visit it, of course. Then again, neither should anyone else for that matter unless they want to wag the finger at other people's voyeurism while ignoring their own shameful urges.
Live 5's decision to call Omegle a "pedophile website" wasn't the only thing to strike me as odd. So did the report on exactly what happened.
We are calling the woman who found her daughter logged on to the website 'Mary' to protect her identity.
"I walked upstairs and opened her door and I see her standing in her room exposed and I see the body of a male adult who is masturbating," Mary said.
Mary said her daughter found out about the site from a friend who came over to the house a couple of nights earlier.
"I asked her what had happened when the friend came over and she said that they had exposed their breasts," Mary said. "I asked her why and she said that the person on the other end had made them feel guilty, told them they were lonely and pretty much guilted them into showing their breasts."
Now, I'm not going to argue that a 12-year-old girl could feel pressured to expose herself to an anonymous man hundreds if not thousands of miles away. But it's another matter entirely for the 12 year old to return to the site days later to expose herself to another anonymous man. Clearly something about the site — and I'm not going to speculate what that was — fascinated the girl and so she returned (And clearly something about the site encourage the 12 year old's friend to spread the news about Omegle.) What the mother didn't say in the report is why her daughter exposed herself a second time.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the 12-year-old wasn't manipulated to expose herself or that the guy on the other end is a sick fuck — Beelzebub has a razor-tipped dildo put aside for him. It simply means that what is being said does not fully explain what happened or why.
All of this got me thinking about the images and messages we expose our children to. As the father of a 18-month-old girl, I've begun thinking about these matters in more earnest.
I wonder what movies this 12-year-old has seen? Has she been allowed to see, let's say, Old School, The Hangover, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, or any number of adult comedies. If she has, then she has clearly been taught that it's quite normal for women to pull up their shirts for the amusement of the menfolk. She may have even decided that this type of thing was acceptable and that this was the type of attention that women craved.
Now, this is all speculative. I don't know what she has seen on DVD or what she didn't. I just know that whenever the mood strikes me to watch Frank the Tank and Blue oil wrestle two comely co-eds, my daughter won't be anywhere around.