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Video chat roulette the latest worry for parents

NEW YORK (CBS) - The latest craze on the Internet is something called "chat-roulette" -- it's a site that randomly puts a user face to face with a stranger.

And that has a lot of parents worried. One user interviewed said "most of it is pretty obscene."

The site, created three months ago by a 17 year-old in Moscow, has been getting as many as 20,000 users at one time during its early days. The users come from all over the world.

As news accounts of the web site spread, so did its popularity. The site has since gone from having 20,000 users to 85,0000

CBS asked Natali del Conte, a senior editor at CNET, to give chat-roulette a spin.

"Hi. I'm Natali. How are you?"

Natali soon encountered a man from New Jersey, and a pair of kids from Norway.

While some of the chats were clean and friendly in nature, others were disturbing like one where a man exposed himself.

CBS caught up with some students from Purchase College in New York one evening who were on chat roulette to meet others.

"It's almost like watching TV except you can interact with it. You just click "next" like you're surfing the channels to see what's on," said Ruben Marrero, a college junior. "It's cool. It's fun."

While using chat-roulette, these students say they often encounter people looking for more than just conversation.

"Most of it is pretty obscene," Colleen Kelly, a college senior. "If they're not being obscene, they will ask us to do obscene things. But that's like the beauty of the "next" button because you can just disconnect automatically. They have no idea who you are unless you tell them."

By the end of the day, so many people were apparently trying chat-roulette, that the site needed to replace its servers.

These students realize that it's a virtual world and best kept that way.

"I would never actually like physically meet up with anyone from Chat-Roulette," said Ali McGhee a college sophomore. "It's the same danger of like meeting someone in a chat room."

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