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Chatroulette: A Pedophile's Paradise?

(CBS)
NEW YORK (CBS) Checked out "Chatroulette" yet? The new online chat service that connects complete strangers via webcams is reportedly gaining thousands of users a day – but it's also raising fears that it could be fertile ground for pedophiles, sex offenders and child molesters.

"There is a lot of illegal activity on this site that is hard to enforce," Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said on The Early Show. He added, "This is the last place parents want their kids to be."

The Web site, created just three months ago by a 17-year-old Russian whiz kid, drops you into a world where you connect through webcams to a random, seemingly limitless succession of strangers from anywhere in the world.

Chats can be simple and friendly, but some users are looking for more than just conversation. And though "Chatroulette" claims "you have to be at least 16-years-old to use (the) service," it seems the site is gaining popularity among teens for its potentially sexually explicit sessions.

"This is a huge red flag; this is extreme social networking," Allen said on the morning show. "This is a place kids are going to gravitate to."

The site issues several disclaimers for would-be webcam chatters.

"Chatroulette does not tolerate broadcasting obscene, offending, pornographic material," reads the home page.

It also encourages users to "report inappropriate video" through a link on the site.

Want to see what it's about? Click here, but be warned.

  • Edecio Martinez

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