As I stated in my Wikipedia post, I planned to log into Chathour, and tell the chat room that I was a researcher and see how they responded. Well, I followed through and did not have much luck. I have attached some pictures to show you what happened in the chat room, but essentially my username is “mkny” and I stated that I was a researcher and wanted to know if anyone could help me out with my research. One girl “nutherBlondee” responded to me, so I assumed she was willing to help out. When I “PVT” chatted her within the chat room, she was not at all interested in helping me and claimed she was “buzy.” So..unfortunately I was not able to find out how tweens engage with the internet further than what I saw in chat hour. It was a good effort though!
For my Wikipedia post, I was unsure of what “term” to contribute to. I searched “Chathour” as well as “Chat Hour” but nothing came up. I could have requested to create a page, but I was nervous that the request would not process by the time this post was due. I then searched “tween” on Wikipedia, and there wasn’t really a good space to add any information about tweens’ usage of the internet. I finally decided to search “chat room” which had plenty of data for me to build off of.
Being that much of my experience on Chathour derived from it’s horny tween users, I decided to contribute to the “sexually related uses” tab of the Chat Room wikipedia page.
I added: Although, minors may not take sexually suggestive or explicit photos in order to engage in sexual exploitation. Tween or teenage chat rooms involve users who can verbally engage in sexually explicit conversations with others, as well as use suggestive language to lure a minor into a “private chat” or “video conference” to engage in a form of cybersex.
Being that I experienced this first hand, I didn’t cite my information, as this is just my personal opinion.
This screenshot shows the Wikipedia article, with my contribution highlighted.
I plan to submit one more post, as I do have a few more hours to complete on Chathour. I will sum up my experience, and I may try to reveal myself as a researcher and see if anyone will open up a bit more in the chat room.
When documenting all of the technology I used in one night, I was pretty appalled at how reliant I am on different technological devices. I’ll start counting from when I finished dinner at around 8:00. I sat on my couch and turned on the television. Obviously, I always have my phone on me–I use it for texting, phone calls, games, and a camera. After a few minutes, I got my computer to check facebook (I could have easily checked it on my phone, but I like looking at the bigger screen on my computer). While on my computer I logged onto twitter, my aol mail, stumbleupon, etc. My friend Jen was sitting on the couch with me and was playing a game on her iPad, so naturally I then played a few games on it too. Before going to bed, I turned on my TV (which I fall sleep to every night), set the alarm on my phone, and plugged my computer into the charger. Essentially I only used my laptop, my phone, and watched TV–which is what I do nearly every day.
In the closing weeks of my practicum project, I have been reflecting a lot on the entire process. Looking back, I realized my participation on the site was limited due to technological barriers. For example, I was not able to video chat with another user because either the connection was off, or our machines were not compatible. I also realized that me lying about my identity on the site probably made it difficult for me to fully participate. Perhaps if I was truthful about my purpose on the website, and I made it clear that I was a researcher, I would be getting more useful feedback. I was also thinking maybe I should have made a different choice with the chat room, and chosen a site with less inappropriate conversation. If I chose a more G-rated site, I may have gotten a better feel for what tweens are actually doing in chat rooms (other than talking about sex).
Regardless of all of these points, I feel that I did learn a lot from my experience on Chathour, and unfortunately I can’t go back now. I’m glad I chose one site and stuck to it.
In the last few weeks of my practicum assignment I was hoping to reach some over-arching conclusions, or make some great discoveries. Unfortunately, not much has changed.
I did try to video conference someone but it didn’t turn out well. I was a little skeptical to do so, being that I didn’t know any of the people I would video chat with. However, I just told myself it would be like Chatroulette, only a little less risky because I knew the people from a chat, and I tried to pick the most normal person I could find. My concerns were that they would not think I look 13, because I don’t. And also that they would be really creepy and try to flash me or just say something weird. I settled on “Farahsara” a girl age 15 (supposedly). We decided to video conference to say hi and show each other our nail colors (I couldn’t think of anything else to relate to her about).
Unfortunately it said the connection wouldn’t go through and our devices would not connect to each other.
Other than this attempt to try something new, everyone mostly remains the same, talks about creepy stuff, and is only interested in naked girls and speaks unidentifiable chatroom language.
For my Hulu/Youtube comparison, I decided to watch a clip from SNL when Jason Segel was the host. Going into it I assumed that Hulu would be better quality than Youtube, just based on previous experience. I was proven correct. Youtube is definitely less sophisticated than Hulu. Youtube is a great way for an average person to put whatever they want on the internet. There are many original video clips, but there are also parodies of different things, re-makes/re-mixes, music videos, etc. Youtube will also have various clips of TV shows, but in the SNL skit that I watched, the video was very blurry and it was clearly a video of a camera filming a television. Hulu is a much better way to watch your TV shows; it allows viewers to watch videos on their computers on their own time. However, the advertisements can get a little annoying. There is one ad before the video and one after. There are no advertisements like this on Youtube, however, I guess the ads are the price you have to pay in order to receive a better quality clip.
When I presented to the class, I had noted that I was planning to dig a little deeper in to Chat Hour and take some risks.
One thing that I was afraid to do was the PVT or Private Chat. I decided I should try it. I thought about it, and I chose to tackle PVT in the Adult Chat. I know that my age group is “tweens” but I thought this would be the best choice because usually I don’t face too much vulgar language and inappropriate behavior in the Adult Chat. There is still an adequate amount of that stuff, just not as much as the horny tweens. Being that this was my first time using PVT, I didn’t want a 12 or 13 year old boy to scar me and discourage me from doing it again.
While I was was in the Adult Chat, I clicked on “bosseswife” who is age 53 from the USA. I thought this would be safe for me. Upon clicking it and sending her a message, I realized the PVT isn’t so private!
PVT simply means you single out a user within the chat, but everyone else can see your conversation. We proceeded to have a brief conversation through PVT, her asking me where I’m from and making ridiculous remarks about my age, but the chat was still going on around us. Eventually our conversation died out, and I changed chat rooms.
My experience with PVT was a lot different than I expected. I was under the impression that a separate chat almost like an IM box would pop up, and you could have a private conversation with another user. The way that PVT actually works is pretty pointless. I could have just as easily singled her out in the chat room without using PVT by just saying “hey bosses wife, how are you?”
In the coming weeks I will try out other aspects of the site and see how tweens respond to and communicate with the different features of Chat Hour.