The chat function on the Duke Farms Eagle Cam has been shut down.
The camera stream is supposed to be educational, for all ages – including young children. In fact, young children are a very important viewer on our camera page, as we use the stream as a tool to educate in school settings.
Our camera started streaming with chat in 2008. At best, the chat was a place to learn more about Bald Eagles in NJ. At it’s worse, the chat devolved into a place for violent, racist, hate-filled spam content that should never be seen by anyone, let alone young viewers in schools. Last year, we worked diligently to create extensive phrase filters, which worked for a short period of time. We also have 10 staff members who give up their days and nights to flag, report and block spam. Yet the spammers find creative ways to get around these blocking methods.
After an evening of bot spam containing questionable content, we classified the channel as “appropriate for children”. This classification through Google shuts down the chat function, as a way to safeguard our youth from potentially harmful content. This complies with the recent Google agreement with the US FTC regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
We do understand that this is upsetting for some viewers who read and post in the chat. While we will miss the exchange of information, we do believe we owe it to our children to not expose them to questionable content.
Our blog still provides a wealth of information, and we will be asking staff and partners to provide regular updates that will be posted there.
We thank you for your understanding and support in safeguarding our youth.