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Text roulette or SMS roulette is a game played chiefly by schoolchildren, in which they compose a text message on their mobile phone then send it to one of their contacts or a made-up number at random.
BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Scott Mills makes regular use of texting as a form of entertainment. In an early form of the game in 2007, he encouraged listeners to send "I love you" messages to a contact at random.
Demographics of users
In 2010, a United Kingdom survey of people aged 13 to 16 found that one in five had played a variation of the game in which the message must be obscene. A similar proportion had sent texts to previously unknown mobile numbers typed in at random, asking for the recipient to reply. Motivations included loneliness, "fun" and boredom, while 9% admitted being "dared" to do it. Of those who had played text roulette, one in three admitted to being in trouble from the recipient.
Neil McHugh, who had commissioned the survey, said it showed that young people did not realize the dangers of texting unknown numbers.
A writer for business organisation ICAEW commented that text roulette is a modern variation on an old pattern, i.e. young people finding ways to irritate adults by doing what is forbidden, but raises concerns about child safety.
In October 2010, Textslide debuted as an application that enables people to easily and safely engage in SMS conversations with strangers.
- The "I Love You" text roulette game, Mobile Industry Review, 15 January 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-09
- Fifth of under 16s admit to risky random texting, rightmobilephone.co.uk, 3 June 2010. Archived 5 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Survey reveals a fifth of youngsters play Text Roulette, The Fonecast, 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09
- Sandra Vogel, SMS roulette, anyone?, ICAEW IT Faculty, 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09
- Random Chat Service Connects People via SMS, Mashable, Retrieved 2011-02-02