Emerald is a new website that specifically markets itself as an alternative to the popular Omegle website that is all about talking to strangers. The topics of live text chats and videos can very quickly become inappropriate for families.
What is Emerald Chat?
- Emerald was created to help people meet each other with similar interests in real-time, one-on-one text, video, and group chats
- Users create a profile with their “flair color,” gender, bio, pictures, and interests
- Other users can see other users’ profiles when they become friends with the other users
- The website matches users based on their interests, gender, and “karma rating”
- Users give or deduct “karma points” to other users based on their chats
- Emerald says the difference between their product and other instant chat sites, like Omegle, is that they take great caution to prevent bots in their site
- “Whether it’s just friends you’re looking for or something more, you can find it on Emerald at the click of a button”
- The website says users must be over 18 years old to use the platform, but there is not an age verification process other than simply clicking a button acknowledging the user is over 18
- Their rules include anti-harassment, anti-spam and advertising, not allowing illegal/explicit content. Moderators and deep learning technology work to identify users breaking the rules and ban users
Where is Emerald Chat available?
- Online at Emeraldchat.com
- Developers say they are working on Android and iOS apps
- Owned by Emerald Co. based in London
- Free to visit and create an account
- Emerald Gold has a monthly cost for more specific matches and an ad free experience
Emerald Chat in the news
On Emerald, users simply indicate that they are at least 18, then choose whether they are male or female. Beyond that, there’s no way to verify someone’s identity.ABC 13
“Anytime you hear of an app that allows you to talk anonymously to each other, it’s bad,’ said Dr. Steve Webb, a Cybersecurity Expert.WFMY CBS News 2
A police investigation showed [the teen] was using her school-issued laptop to communicate with him on multiple platforms… [The teen] is back home now – 10 days after she was kidnapped by a man posing as a teenager on the notorious… Emerald Chat.Family Zone
Why should parents care about Emerald Chat?
- Age verification does not exist beyond a basic user agreement
- The purpose of the site is to connect and talk with strangers
- Users often share explicit messages or appear in profile or live videos nude
- Strangers can easily ask for personal information to exploit other users
- Topic discussions very quickly stray from the designated interests or categories
- Like anything online, “private” conversations may be screen recorded or saved by the other anonymous users and shared off the platform for other purposes
What can parents do?
- Talk with your students about the danger of talking to strangers, even online
- Help your students find age-appropriate ways to meet new friends (sports, activities, moderated student groups, etc.)
- Remind your students to never meet someone from the internet as other users may not actually be who they say they are offline
- Tell your students they can always come to you (or another trusted adult) if they ever feel uncomfortable about something that happened online
- Join the SmartSocial Very Informed Parent program to learn how to start conversations about shining online with your students
Students crave social connections and in the online world, those connections might seem safe with computer screens between users. However, young students who are eager to meet others can be exposed to foul language or nudity in live chats or can become victims of exploitation.
Telling curious kids to not use a website like Emerald, or other sites like it is not enough. It is important for parents to talk with kids about the real-life dangers of online chatting with strangers and regularly remind them that nothing you do online is ever really private.