Text roulette

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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.

Popular use[edit]

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.[1]

In the last episode of Series 3 of Channel 4 sitcom The Inbetweeners, the four main characters play Text Roulette with each other's phones.

Demographics of users[edit]

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.[2]


Neil McHugh, who had commissioned the survey, said it showed that young people did not realize the dangers of texting unknown numbers.[3]

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.[4]

In October 2010, Textslide debuted as an application that enables people to easily and safely engage in SMS conversations with strangers.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The "I Love You" text roulette game, Mobile Industry Review, 15 January 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-09
  2. ^ Fifth of under 16s admit to risky random texting, rightmobilephone.co.uk, 3 June 2010. Archived 5 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Survey reveals a fifth of youngsters play Text Roulette, The Fonecast, 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09
  4. ^ Sandra Vogel, SMS roulette, anyone?, ICAEW IT Faculty, 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09
  5. ^ Random Chat Service Connects People via SMS, Mashable, Retrieved 2011-02-02

External links[edit]