Omegle: Students Chatting with Strangers

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October 24, 2022

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In this guide, parents & educators will learn:

  • What Omegle is and why it is so popular with students
  • Why parents should care about students using Omegle
  • Tips to talk to students about chat sites like Omegle

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
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This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

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:

1) How Omegle works and why some students want to use it

2) The dangers of chatting with strangers online

3) Tips for parents to warn their students about the dangers of connecting online with random strangers and tips to make Omegle safe

Omegle safety guide for parents & educators (video)

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 video chat?

Image from Omegle website
  • Users go to Omegle.com to instantly start a text or video chat with strangers
  • Users must be 18 or older, but other than self-reporting, no age verification exists
  • Keywords connect users and find online forms with shared interests
  • College students can enter a .edu email address (which the site uses for verification) to find other students in the college student chat section
  • While Omegle says “Please leave Omegle and visit an adult site instead if that’s what you’re looking for,” explicit content is often seen or heard in the random connections
  • Omegle offers an adult and unmoderated section for more options of connecting with random users
  • 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 currently online (it’s often 40,000+)

Why do students want to chat with random strangers on Omegle?

  • Students may think Omegle is safe and meeting random people online through a computer screen is harmless
  • Some students like to meet other people they may not be able to talk to or meet in real life
  • Students often talk about their chat partner they meet online or the conversations they have, or what they see online, at school or while hanging out with their friends, which makes other students curious
  • Some social media influencers that students know on other platforms may talk about connecting users on Omegle servers where they have more chat options, can use more inappropriate language, or share more adult content blocked on other reputable social media groups
  • Some students are looking for ways to meet new friends or connections beyond their immediate social network at school and use Omegle for chat options and online forums
  • Basic human behavior tells us young adults may want an outlet to explore their sexual curiosity and feel safer in doing so online with anonymous strangers
  • Students may not be aware of how much or what inappropriate content they may see

Where is Omegle video or web chat available?

Omega and OKAY app icons
Apps like Omega and OKAY are extremely similar to Omegle
  • Omegle.com is available on any mobile or desktop browser
  • The website shows users how to easily add Omegle to the home screen of their phones with their mobile web browser to make it mobile-friendly and appear like an app
  • Omegle says “Video is monitored. Keep it clean” on the homepage, but inappropriate images and language could be shown or made quickly in the live chat before monitoring can stop it
  • Omegle's Privacy Policy says: “Omegle video chat service requires a direct connection to be made between your computer and the other user's computer. To do this, it is necessary to make your IP address available to the other user's computer”, which could be a security risk
  • There are several apps, including 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

Two predators sentenced to federal prison for sexually exploiting four children they met on social media platforms
“According to court documents, [one of the men] met his first minor victim, who was 14, using online applications such as Omegle and Meetme. Using Snapchat and Kik, Israel persuaded this victim to meet with him in person…” - U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of Indiana
jersey shore man pleads guilty after sexting, arranging meetup with 11 year old Morris girl
[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

Why should parents care about Omegle?

Image from Omegle website
  • Age verification is not required to access Omegle
  • The website says all users must be over 18 to use the Omegle online site
  • ~Omegle says anyone under 18 should ask for parental permission to text chat or video chat
  • Chat partners can easily ask for personal details, or share inappropriate content like 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 video chats on their screen or take a screenshot
  • Omegle.com video chats offer “moderated” chats, but says “Moderation is not perfect. You may still encounter people who misbehave. They are solely responsible for their own behavior.”
  • Online predators are known to use Omegle to use online grooming techniques on the Omegle platform
  • There are no parental controls in the app or on the website as it is not intended for users under 18
  • Other user's computers  may have screen recording software running, which poses security threats to any user in the Omegle interface

What can parents do?

  • If your student is asking to text chat or video chat on Omegle, ask them to show you how they are using it and see it for yourself
  • It’s important to help students understand why talking with random strangers is not safe
  • Remind your students to never share personal details, like their name, address, passwords, or even other social media account handles in their text chat or video chats
  • Remind them about the dangers of meeting up with chat partners from the internet in real life and show them examples of online predation shown on Omegle
  • Help students understand that they can always come to you (or a trusted adult) if they ever see inappropriate content or feel uncomfortable about something that happened online and when they should help a friend by going to a trusted adult for help
  • Consider using a parental control app to block Omegle if you do not want your students on this type of website to block it from their device
  • ~Be aware that students often find ways around restrictions, like using them at a friend’s house, so it's vital to have actual conversations as a family

Conclusion

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 a similar app, 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.


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Omegle: Students Chatting with Strangers

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