I READ with a lot of apprehension about the popularity of randomised video-chat website ChatRoulette.com.
I would like to suggest that some steps be taken before it becomes too popular among young people here.
The website allows users to chat with anyone who happens to be online. Webcams are normally a feature of these chats.
It has the potential to become a hunting ground for sex predators seeking to prey on minors.
While there is a minimum age requirement of 16 years for users of the website, the rule is not strictly enforced.
Most educational institutions in Singapore have a registered domain name (ending with "edu.sg").
Each child enrolled with them should be assigned an e-mail address at this registered domain.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) should then create a chat area that would be hosted on the ministry's server.
Those without an e-mail address from a Singapore educational institution would not be allowed to enter the chat area.
Hence, a young person would know for certain whether he or she is chatting with someone from an educational institution in Singapore.
Should a user be uncomfortable with the chat, he or she could lodge a complaint with his or her school and the chat transcripts could be retrieved for an investigation.
Students are not always aware of the dangers of interacting with strangers on the Internet, and this chat area may give them less reason to access unrestricted chat websites.
MR COLIN ONG TAU SHIEN
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