CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Live 5 News investigation has uncovered new concerns about a website police say targets children to get naked and perform sexual acts on a webcam.
The website called Omegle, allows anyone to talk anonymously to strangers, by texting or through a webcam video chat.
We first found out about Omegle two years ago from a local mom who caught her naked daughter watching the website.
"I walked upstairs and opened her door and is see her standing in her room exposed, and I see the body of a male adult masturbating," said the woman, whose identity we are not revealing.
Charleston Police Officer Doug Gallucio began to investigate Omegle after we brought the website to his attention.
"Omegle is right in the house and it's stealing the innocence from our children," Gallucio said.
Gallucio, the department's Internet crime detective said two years later, he's discovered Omegle is even more dangerous to kids.
"They've made it actually easier to navigate, easier to jump right in. It was a little bit difficult the last time. More warnings were available, but now you can primarily sign in anyplace, from your phone or wherever you might want to do it.'
Gallucio said it appears more children than ever are chatting on Omegle, and that what he's seen on the site's webcams is very disturbing.
"Our research is showing that you know, we're seeing two or three kids taking their clothes off," he explained. Girls and boys are doing it together, so it's turned into quite a large epidemic, I guess you can call it."
The Internet crime cop says he's also hearing about people profiting from their webcam chats on Omegle, sharing the videos of naked kids on other websites, and getting paid for it.
"It's just another thing setup with a PayPal account or what have you, and boom, you're in business. You're a child pornographer, you're in business immediately," Gallucio said.
Gallucio says it's very difficult to track down the people who run websites such as Omegle because many of them are operated in other countries.
His advice to parents is to monitor their children's activity on the Internet.