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Omegle: Students Chatting with Strangers

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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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Omegle: Students Chatting with Strangers

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The social media app Omegle shut down in November 2023 after being online for 14 years due to a lawsuit accusing the site of facilitating child abuse. Omegle’s tagline was “Talk to strangers!” and its homepage showed tens of thousands of strangers logged on at any given moment. The topics of text and video conversations ranged from innocent to totally inappropriate.

Why did Omegle shut down?

  • Omegle has been online for 14 years and recently shut down due to a lawsuit that accused the social media site of facilitating child abuse (Source: NBC News)
  • Some people misused it to commit unspeakably heinous crimes. The app has been named in numerous Department of Justice publications announcing the sentencing of people convicted of sex crimes (Source: NBC News)
  • Critics have raised concerns about the website's safety over the past years, with some even calling it a "magnet for pedophiles." (Source: Engadget)
  • Omegle’s founder Leif K-Brooks, in a statement, blamed the closure on attacks by critics that used “the behavior of a malicious subset of users” to force it offline (Source: The Washington Post)

Omegle’s founder Leif K-Brooks, in a statement, blamed the closure on attacks by critics that used “the behavior of a malicious subset of users” to force it offline (Source: The Washington Post)

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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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

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

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about Omegle! (regular text, bold)

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

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

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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