A NEW website dubbed "a predator's paradise" has become an internet sensation in Australia – but there is almost nothing that Queensland authorities can do to track those preying on children.
Chat Roulette, launched online in November, instantly puts users face-to-face with a stranger anywhere in the world.
In a concept Queensland Police say is one of the most dangerous on the web, the site shows webcam footage of the stranger – one of more than 20,000 on the site at one time – and has an option to "spin the wheel" to the next stranger.
Users don't have to register any identifying information and the site has already been flooded with users exposing themselves and sharing intimate details.
Some reports suggest 20 per cent of the webcams show masturbating men. The Courier-Mail logged on to the site for 15 minutes last night and was connected to 10 users from across the globe – three were shirtless men hiding their faces, another man was showing his penis while a woman with a US accent started stripping.
The website mixes the most dangerous aspects of social networking, chat rooms and web cameras, according to police.
"Predators seek out and chat to children with webcams and can place enormous pressure on them to transmit indecent images of themselves," a police spokeswoman said.
Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens' Associations president Margaret Black said the concept was extremely risky for children.
"We are quite horrified about where social networking sites are going," Ms Black said.
US-based psychiatrist Dr Keith Ablow has labelled the site a "predator's paradise".
"Parents should keep all children off (Chat Roulette) because it's much too dangerous," Dr Ablow said.
The site, hosted in Germany, was created by 17-year-old Moscow high school student Andrey Ternovskiy.
But unlike the millions who use Facebook, offenders on www.chatroulette.com are a lot harder to track, according to Associate Professor of Law at the University of South Australia, Melissa deZwart.
"You don't have to be a member or register details so the service provider doesn't have the same control over its users that Facebook does," Ms deZwart said.
Source: Courier Mail
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