“Kids” Chat: The Danger of Online Chat Rooms


Lars Plougmann

Nowadays, even young children have access to the internet.

  Nowadays, when there is so little adult supervision, we don’t always think or care about what we do online. Sometimes it’s mindless, and other times our instincts take over. We are free to splurge all of our cash and access any content we like….

   We can talk to strangers. 

   Whether you want to believe it or not, this might be the largest problem facing the internet. Of course, a lot of people have online friends, and in theory that’s OK. Since we can now conduct video chats, we frequently know who we are speaking to—or at the very least, could quickly determine—and it is gradually becoming the standard. But again, the possibilities of the internet are endless.

   You’ve probably heard about Omegle.com, a chat website where you can meet strangers, whether it be over video call or chat. Is there a danger to using this website? No doubt. To phrase it carefully, a lot of the interactions you’ll have on Omegle can make you feel uneasy or frightened. However, encounters on Omegle may always be avoided. To go to another chat and end the current one, simply press the button at the bottom of the screen.

   Many individuals are unaware that there is a bigger problem at hand. Nowadays, even young children have access to the internet. It might be challenging for parents to entirely restrict what their children do. 

   Kids’ imaginations can sometimes run wild when they are bored. Online chat rooms like Omegle, as was previously noted, may be accessible to some children. If I told you there are riskier chat rooms than that, would you believe me?

   KidsChat.net… an innocent name. A deceiving one, at that.

   This website is something I looked into a while back, after watching a video from the YouTube creator “Mamamax” entitled “KidsChat.net”. Only 2 million people have watched it since the video’s premiere two years ago. 

   The video was produced in the style of a documentary.  In it, he went onto the website and exposed the dangers of this website geared towards children. The results of his findings exposed the types of people that actually go on KidsChat, and the grooming that occurs all too often. 

   If you ever have an extra 26 minutes and 30 seconds to kill and would like to learn about the risks of chat rooms targeted toward children, this video is quite helpful to watch. 

    MamaMax makes himself known by speaking in a monotone. The video’s effects are gloomy. But he makes it abundantly apparent in the video that he is totally opposed to grooming. “I don’t care for the views at this point, I just want the kids to be safe”, he said. And, “Anyone who even thinks of harming one hair on a child’s head is on my menu.”

   One comment wrote, “As a victim of child predators and grooming online, you don’t understand how much your work has impacted me, and other people that have experienced the same, thank you for what (you’re) doing.” 

    Another wrote, “The fact that it took 18 years for anyone to say anything about this predator site (is) a little disappointing.”

   A few other channels have spoken out about the website, such as a creator by the name of “Nexpo”. He created a dark video as well, following the same themes as MamaMax. 

   I got curious about the website as well and decided to make an account on KidsChat for myself. Upon entering the site, I was presented with a list of 14 room rules, such as #2: You will agree to be between the ages of 13 and 19 before entering the kids chat rooms. If you are not within this age range, please leave. We have zero tolerance policy with regards to age. This is NOT a website for children. Please help report users violating this policy to a moderator.” 

   #3 read: “Kids or better known as youths or younger teens (closer to the ages of 13-15) are recommended to participate in these chat rooms under the supervision of their parent/guardian.”

   They also make recommendations such as to refrain from giving out personal information, don’t post vulgar messages in the chat, don’t exploit other kids, and to finish all of your homework before going onto the website.

   They warn users that if anything illegal is done, the user will be reported to authorities. At the bottom of the screen, there is an “I ACCEPT CLICK HERE” button. I clicked it and was presented with an option to login or create a guest login. I chose to create a guest login, but there was no option for parental validation.

   I was put into the chat, and immediately saw what Mamamax and Nexpo were talking about in their videos. One user wrote in the main chat, “Hey older guys pm me.” Someone else posted a link to a video chat. Another wrote, “I want a skinny and short boy with no muscles with a little chub between 13-15 text me if u are just ugly and insecure asf, text me your age and how ugly u are”.

   There were, in fact, vulgar messages in the chat but the users writing them were not kicked out. Moderators were nonexistent.

   After a minute, I had been messaged by at least five users. One said, “hey how’s it going?” And then sent me a link to Whereby.com, which I of course didn’t click but could only assume it was a video chat with the user. Another user asked me to roleplay. 

   I looked over the user list. Ages ranged from very young children to adulthood. To see if I could modify my age, I went to my profile, and I could. I had options ranging from 9 to 99, defying KidsChat’s claim that users must be between the ages of 13 and 19. 

   I left the site with disgust. Despite the impression the website gave off, there had been no oversight or restrictions and there were evident child groomers in the chat.

   The scariest thing of all of this was that– just the fact that parents are very clearly uninformed about what their kids are doing on the internet. Chat rooms like KidsChat.net have little to no restrictions. Anyone can use the chats as there is no way of telling us a user is really a child in real life.

   A few clicks on Safari… that’s all it takes. I looked up “kids chat rooms” to support my theory and was, in fact, presented with various options. KidsChat was on top, but following it was “kids-chat.com”, “321chat.com”, “chatogo.com”, “allkidschat.com”… the list went on.

   Why are we allowing this to happen and what have we done to the internet? Why are we no longer concerned? There are obviously less limits now than there were 30 years ago because it’s a new age. But are we doing enough if children are being groomed on websites like these?

   A petition on change.org was started 3 years ago to take down KidsChat. The creator of the petition wrote, “KidsChat.net (previously ChildrensChat.net, the name was changed due to backlash on their website) has been an active website for the past 18 years. It advertises itself explicitly for children’s usage, despite being littered with unmonitored predators. This website IS NOT safe for children. It is a website that, regardless of intention, grooms minors into the hands of pedophiles.”

   He explained that the site made it easy for anybody to lie about their age or who they are all the time, and that the system of reporting pedophiles was incredibly scuffed. “They acknowledge the severe amount of pedophiles on their site, yet still choose to do nothing about it. After 18 years, the only change that has shifted is the ban of sending images in chat. It took 18 years.”

   Despite the petition creator’s captivating arguments, the petition has still yet to reach its goal of 500 signatures. 

   If you’d like to see KidsChat.net get taken down, please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/federal-bureau-of-investigation-take-down-kidschat-net 

  Will the petition even have any effect if it ever receives 500 signatures? At that point, it will have taken almost or even 20 years, and taking down one website will not take down the others as well. 

   People in positions of power should have acted more aggressively long ago. Everyone, as a society,  must stand up for the children.

   In addition, if you or someone you know is being groomed, do not hesitate to contact a trusted adult. Grooming is crucial to focus on, especially in this day and age where the occurrence is much more common due to the internet and it can often lead to sexual abuse.