Shut down Video/Voice Chatting Feature on Amino!

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Team Amino/Narvii Inc recently announced it's intentions to introduce a voice/video chat feature to the Amino app. 

Majority of Amino's users are under the age of 18, and the app itself is rated 13+ on the platforms on which it is available. As such, Video/Voice is a dangerous option for Amino that could be used by online predators to groom, abuse and sextort children. This is a common problem on platforms like Omegle and Skype, and it would be hard to do any meaningful moderation of these chats.

This cannot be allowed to go into effect. It is a risk that Amino should not be allowed to take with it's underage users. In it's guidelines, Amino expressly forbids giving out personal information, but with a Video/Voice chat options, it could be possible for this information to be passed and could lead to countless underage and vulnerable users to be victimized!  

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), "Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 90% increase in the total number of reports; a pattern that has continued, with sextortion reports up 150% within the first several months of 2016 compared to the number of reports in that same time-frame in 2014.

Sextortion most commonly occurred via phone/tablet messaging apps, social networking sites and video chats.Of the reports in which an online location was mentioned, the total number of platforms that offenders used to communicate with children ranged widely from one platform to as many as seven platforms. While over half of reports (56%) indicated that only one platform was involved, the use of multiple platforms was indicated in 42% of the reports. When communication occurred across multiple online locations, a common pattern emerged whereby the offender would intentionally and systematically move the communication with the child from one online platform type to another.

As a result of sextortion, child victims commonly experienced a range of negative outcomes, including hopelessness, fear, anxiety and depression. Overall, it was indicated in 13% of CyberTipline sextortion reports that the child victim had experienced some type of negative outcome. Of those reports with some type of negative outcome, it was indicated that about 1 in 3 children (31%; 4% of all sextortion reports) had engaged in self-harm, threatened suicide or attempted suicide as a result of the victimization."

Some more food for thought: 

Approximately 95 percent of all Americans between 12 and 17 years old are online and three in four teens access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices (as of 2012)[i]

One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet says they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Solicitations were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or to give out personal sexual information. (only 25% of those told a parent) [ii]

About 30% of the victims of Internet sexual exploitation are boys.

Internet sexual predators tend to fall between the ages of 18 and 55, although some are older or younger. Their targets tend to be between the ages of 11 and 15

In 100% of the cases, teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them[iii].

There are 799,041 Registered Sex Offenders in the United States (2015)[iv].

Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16 percent of teens considered meeting someone they've only talked to online and 8 percent have actually met someone they only knew online[v].

75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services[vi].

If Amino cares about its users at all, it should not allow this feature! 



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