What Is an Anonymous Video Chat?

G. Wiesen

An anonymous video chat is a form of online communication between two or more people in which little or no information is shared between the people. This is usually done through a third-party program or Internet website, rather than a more formal service such as an instant messenger program. While other forms of video chat often involve the use of screen names, accounts, or other identifiers, anonymous video chat usually contains none of these identifiers and simply allows individuals to chat however they wish. These programs or websites often pair random people together, allowing individuals to “jump” from one chat to another and meet new people.

Anonymous video chatting can be a fun way to pass the time.
Anonymous video chatting can be a fun way to pass the time.

While video chat has been possible using computers and other hardware connected to the Internet since the late 20th century, anonymous video chat came into mainstream popularity around 2010. Different websites and programs can facilitate this type of chat, and it is often seen as another form of social media in which people can quickly and anonymously meet each other online. Many teenagers and young adults use these programs or sites to meet new people and communicate freely.

Video chatting may be used to flirt online.
Video chatting may be used to flirt online.

Since these anonymous video chat programs and sites do not require an account, username, or other identifiers, people are able to quickly begin chatting with little more than a computer and a camera. Many of these sites do not even require that users have a camera, allowing for text chat as well, though some users may see this as a dishonest use of the service. Despite the anonymous nature of these programs, many users can still feel “exposed” while on camera, and so may not want to chat with another user not willing to be on camera. One of the most unique features of an anonymous video chat service is that many of them randomly pair users, rather than allowing users to meet in a chat room or otherwise find each other.

While anonymous video chat programs can be relatively harmless, there is some potential for abuse. There are concerns over the use of such services by unattended children, since there are seldom any tools in place to censor content. Much like any other type of online activity or communication, parents and guardians should be aware of their children’s activities and monitor online interactions carefully. This is especially true of anonymous video chat, since it can allow another person to actually see a child using the service, and text chat can allow people to ask questions that may reveal personal information or locations.

Anonymous video chatting is most popular among teens and young adults, who use these programs to meet new people.
Anonymous video chatting is most popular among teens and young adults, who use these programs to meet new people.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - I guess what makes me nervous about this kind of thing is not that someone will do something deliberately awful on the video feed, but that I won't be able to talk to anyone at all. It's one thing for someone to reject you on a text chat, where maybe you just don't have anything in common.

It's another for someone to get a look at you and reject you for that. I get the feeling that live video chats are mostly a hookup service with a smattering of pranksters out there. That doesn't seem like there's much potential to make friends.


@umbra21 - There are all kinds of people using video chat. There are a few nutjobs out there, but you really have to just be prepared to shut down your session at any moment and nothing can harm you.

Make sure you don't have any identifying features around, like your address or phone number visible in the screen and don't give them any details. I wouldn't let kids use this kind of thing either, unless it's a service catering to them specifically.

But it can be a lot of fun, especially if you manage to find someone interesting. I've made several good friends through using this kind of chat and I would never have met them if I hadn't been bored and looking for someone to talk to.


I've got to admit, I'm always too chicken to use these kinds of chat. I've occasionally gone into anonymous text chat, where they match you up with someone who picks the same topics in common with you and that's been OK.

But I've heard of too many horror stories on video chatting. It seems like most of the people who go on there, only do so out of curiosity, or in order to try and frighten or disgust others.

I'd rather not experience that.

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