Omegle’s tagline is “Talk to strangers!” and its homepage shows tens of thousands of strangers logged on at any given moment. The topics of text and video conversations can range from innocent to totally inappropriate.
This SmartSocial.com guide explains how Omegle works and why parents should warn their kids about the dangers of connecting online with random strangers.
Omegle (oh·meg·ull) is a great way to meet new friends, even while practicing social distancing. When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random and let you talk one-on-one. To help you stay safe, chats are anonymous unless you tell someone who you are (not suggested!), and you can stop a chat at any time. Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.Omegle.com
What is Omegle chat?
- Users go to Omegle.com to instantly start a text or video chat with strangers
- Visitors can use keywords to find people with shared interests
- College students can enter a .edu email address (which the site uses for verification) to find other students
- There is also an “adult” section
- The website is free to use and is available in multiple languages
- A graphic on top of the website shows how many other users are online at any (it’s often 40,000+)
Where is Omegle available?
- Omele.com is available on any web browser
- The website shows users how to easily use add Omegle to the home screen of their phones to make it mobile-friendly
- There are several apps, include Omega in Google Play and OKAY in the iOS App Store, that have similar logos and offer the same random chat features
Omegle in the news
People are apparently so sick of Zooming with people they know that they are willing to risk an unsolicited genital flashing in exchange for an unfamiliar face… According to Google Trends, searches for Omegle have been steadily increasing since the week of March 8, when many American cities went on lockdown.Bustle
[The 19 year-old suspect] and the [11 year-old] girl first started communicating on Omegle… Their conversation turned sexual and moved to the messaging app Snapchat, where they shared sexually explicit photos, authorities said… The girl’s parents tipped off police before [their planned] meeting occurred.Daily Record
Though the site has been around for more than a decade… it has recently seen a resurgence, particularly with teenagers feeling alienated by months of remote learning and limited face-to-face socializing.New York Times
Why should parents care about Omegle?
- Age verification is not required to use Omegle
- The website says all users must over 13
- It also says anyone under 18 should ask for parental permission
- Strangers can easily ask for personal information, share explicit messages, or appear on screen nude
- Strangers often send usernames to connect on other apps, like Snapchat, Kik, and Discord
- Although your student might feel like their chat is private, anyone can record their screen or take a screenshot
- Omegle.com offers “moderated” chats, but says “Moderation is not perfect. You may still encounter people who misbehave. They are solely responsible for their own behavior.”
What can parents do?
- It’s important to not only tell your children not to visit sites like Omegle, but also to explain WHY
- You can use settings or a parental monitoring app to block Omegle.com, but kids can often find ways around that (For example, visiting banned websites at a friend’s house)
- Teach your kids to never share personal information with strangers online
- Remind them about the dangers of meeting up with someone from the internet in real life
- Tell them they can always come to you (or a trusted adult) if they ever feel uncomfortable about something that happened online
Some people might find interesting, innocent conversations on Omegle, but the chances of both parties looking for that are likely pretty slim. However, telling curious kids not to use a website like Omegle, or an app like it, isn’t enough. It’s important to talk with kids about the real life dangers of chatting online with strangers- and regularly remind them that nothing they do online is ever really private.
We hope our video and blog post will help you to keep your kids safe online. Comment below if you have any questions.