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Stickam Confronts the Web Video Bogeyman

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Web video site and social network Stickam made the New York Times today, though it’s not the kind of publicity the company might have liked. Stickam allows users to broadcast live Web cam feeds on their homepages, something that worries some child-protection advocates, the story says.

Other social networks have decided against allowing conversations over live video because of the potential for abuse and opposition from child-safety advocates. “The only thing you get from the combination of Web cams and young people are problems,” said Parry Aftab, executive director of the child protection organization “Web cams are a magnet for sexual predators.”

The concerns expressed in the article weren’t enough to scare away Warner from signing a deal to promote some of their music artists on Stickam. And the company does point out that they do have a community policing infrastructure set up — which is certainly something that has worked at Craigslist for years, scare stories about drug dealers and prostitutes posting ads there notwithstanding.

According to the article, Stickam and its no-rules brethren are attracting youthful users simply because they do not have the policing and filtering rules now commonplace on sites like YouTube and MySpace, the latter of which has already blocked Stickam. Cynics might point out that one way to make an unpopular, anti-competitive move like blocking without too much outcry is to invoke child-safety concerns. But why should an online video site, and the Internet community at large, be punished for the sins of a few?

4 Responses to “Stickam Confronts the Web Video Bogeyman”

  1. John A.

    What about the point that on Stickam you can actually be sure of who you’re talking to? When you’re chatting with someone from MySpace you could be talking to some dirty old man.

    The NY Times take was a real stretch.

  2. MySpace has no filtering rules. Where I live, doing a local search for women, there are about 20-30 of blatantly abusive pornographic profiles which point to well, adult websites, and the like. I have personally been finding these profiles and sending them to the [email protected] mail box, and they do not take down the profiles in a speedy like fashion, if at all.

    I signed up for Stickam a couple weeks ago, and while I think there should be more rules in place with respect to the younger underage crowd, there simply isn’t enough people using the chat rooms to enforce and follow the “rules”. I think that the younger users should use their own rooms, which Stickam provides, but again there isn’t enough kids online, for the kids to go use their own rooms. Besides, most unpoliced children will want to go into these chat rooms to be around adults, because they think it’s cool. I would personally would like it if they blocked users access to rooms not designated for kids, 14-17 yrs of age, and vice versa, not allowing kids into rooms designated for adults.