WHAT IS OMEGLE?
How would you feel about your preteen chatting with a complete stranger online? Probably not great. Well, meet Omegle. It’s a free chat room where anyone can meet face-to-face with random strangers via video chat.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Omegle is not for users 13 and under, plus it requires parental permission for anyone under 18. The site claims that some video chats are moderated, but if users select “unmoderated,” a warning reads: “Because this section is not moderated, you are more likely to encounter sexual behavior.” So kids have been exposed to sexual acts and real-time nudity on the site. According to Omegle’s website, users “stay safe” on the site by chatting with others anonymously. Really?
Omegle has been around since 2009, but is experiencing a surge of interest during the pandemic. Parents should definitely beware this one.
What Parents Need to Know About Omegle
Users must be 13 years of age and have parental permission if under 18.
But registration is not required! Users simply go to the site, choose ‘Text’ or ‘Video’ chat.
Omegle randomly pairs users—identified as ‘You’ and ‘Stranger’—to chat.
Chats are anonymous unless the user chooses otherwise.
Users are sometimes asked to share "ASL." An acronym used on Omegle that means: "Age, Sex, Location."
Offers video chat just for adults. But it's easy enough for kids to pretend to be adults.
There is no age verification, making youth a potential target for online predators. The site even states “predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.”
Like all sites, it can be used for good and for bad. Some adults safely use Omegle to meet others, share interests, practice language skills and more. It's just not for kids.
Check out this video from SmartSocial.com's Josh Ochs:
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